Illustrative image (Source: adb.org)

Hanoi (VNA) – The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved aid worth over 100 million USD to help the Vietnamese Government install eight modernised irrigation systems in five drought-affected provinces, according to the bank’s November 27 news release.

The bank’s move is expected to contribute to improving agricultural productivity, especially among farmers growing high-value crops such as coffee, peppers, grapes, dragon fruits, and mangoes.

Its support for the upgraded irrigation systems, which will supply water on-demand through pressurised pipe systems, will cover policy measures to help Binh Thuan, Dak Lak, Dak Nong, Khanh Hoa, and Ninh Thuan provinces improve irrigation management services, including the operations and maintenance of irrigation infrastructure. It will also assist the development of improved groundwater and water productivity assessments, as well as micro-irrigation systems based on the type of crops and farmer demand.

“Modernised irrigation systems maximising the potential of Vietnam’s agricultural sector are crucial to the country’s goal of pursuing inclusive and sustainable growth,” ADB Senior Natural Resources Economist Sanath Ranawana said. “The project’s focus on climate resilience, particularly by providing water on-demand to farmers, will help smallholder farmers increase crop yield and boost their incomes.”

Agriculture plays a significant part in the Southeast Asian nation’s economy, contributing 18.3 percent of its gross domestic product and 44 percent of the labour force from 2008–2016. However, despite having one of the best irrigation coverage in Southeast Asia, covering about 50 percent of the country’s arable land area, more than half of its irrigation systems remain under capacity due to outdated infrastructure. This affects the productivity of farmers in drought-affected provinces in Vietnam, especially given the effects of climate change.

ADB’s assistance is composed of a 100 million USD concessional loan and a 300,000 USD non-refundable aid from the Climate Change Fund, established in May 2008 to facilitate greater investments in ADB’s developing member countries to effectively tackle climate change.

ADB will also administer another 750,000 USD grant from the Netherlands Trust Fund under the Water Financing Partnership Facility, which was established in November 2006 to improve access to water resources among people living in the project area. The grant will support the development of water resource assessments and a water allocation framework, water productivity assessments, and a crop water monitoring platform.

ADB is committed to achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific, while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty. Established in 1966, it is owned by 67 members, including 48 from the region. In 2017, ADB operations totaled 32.2 billion USD, including 11.9 billion USD in co-financing.-VNA