Over 88,000 Farmers In Armenia Will Benefit From Rehabilitation Of I

OVER 88,000 FARMERS IN ARMENIA WILL BENEFIT FROM REHABILITATION OF IRRIGATION SCHEMES

Panorama, Armenia
Oct 26 2011

The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors today approved a
US$18 million loan for the Additional Financing of the Irrigation
Rehabilitation Emergency Project (IREP) for Armenia. The scale up and
restructuring of this project will improve water use efficiency in
the selected irrigation schemes, as well as foster immediate rural
employment in seven regions of Armenia.

Rehabilitation works will include 50 km of main and secondary canals
serving around 52,000 hectares (ha) in Aragastotn, Kotayk, Shirak,
Lori, Ararat, and Armavir regions, which will allow reducing water
losses by an estimated 34.4 million cubic meters and will potentially
restore irrigation on about 4,700 ha. In addition, rehabilitation of
another 63 km of tertiary networks in 19 communities of Lori, Shirak,
Gegharkunik, and Armavir regions will reduce water losses by 9.9
million cubic meters, will improve existing irrigation water services
on over 2,500 ha, and potentially restore irrigation on 1,760 ha.

Annual water savings (44.2 million cubic meters) equivalent to US$1.4
million of the financial price of water will enable some 6,500 ha of
previously irrigated lands to be restored.

“This Project will directly benefit over 88,000 farmers who will
see their farm profitability and incomes rise,” said Mr. Asad Alam,
World Bank Regional Director for the South Caucasus. “This Project
supports the government’s efforts to improve agricultural productivity
and boost long-term growth”.

“The irrigation rehabilitation will also generate about 7,000
person-months of temporary employment, and potentially may add about
2,100 permanent jobs in agriculture” said Mr. Jean-Michel Happi, the
World Bank Country Manager for Armenia. “Job creation is an important
dimension of this project.”

Under the original IREP, some 89.4 km were rehabilitated, including
57.7 km in Talin and 31.7 km in Armavir main canals. Water losses
declined by about 96.9 million cubic meters from around 114. Temporary
jobs created during construction equaled to about 11,379 person/months
(of the targeted 9,000 person/months), of which 67 percent was
unskilled labor, primarily benefitting poorer households. Longer
term development impacts include an estimated 8,000 ha returned to
irrigation to the benefit of small-scale farmers in surrounding areas.

Over time this is expected to provide incentives for cultivation of
higher value crops, which should result in additional long-term job
creation and improved livelihoods for poorer households.

“This Project will also strengthen the sustainability of progress made
in the irrigation sector by improving water service delivery and water
management,” added Mr. Giuseppe Fantozzi, Task Team Leader for the
Project. “It will strengthen the institutions that are particularly
relevant for the ongoing reforms, especially through training the
Water User Associations.”

The Project was prepared in close cooperation with the Millennium
Challenge Corporation (MCC) Program, which prepared the preliminary
designs for construction works.

Total financing of the Project is US$ 21.6 million, of which the
Government of Armenia will finance US$3.4 million and US$0.2 million
will be provided by beneficiaries (already collected under the MCC
Program funds). The IBRD loan carries a maturity of 25 years including
a grace period of 10 years.

Since joining the World Bank in 1992 and IDA in 1993, the total IDA
and IBRD commitments to Armenia amount to US$1, 506 million.

From: A. Papazian

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