World Bank inks agreement project to support smallholder farmers in Odisha

Bhubaneswar (Odisha) [India], Oct 24 (ANI): The Central Government, Odisha government and the World Bank on Thursday signed a loan agreement worth $165 million to support smallholder farmers in the state.The project "The Odisha Integrated Irrigation Project for Climate Resilient Agriculture" will be implemented in Odisha's rural areas which are vulnerable to droughts and largely dependent on rainfed agriculture."It will benefit about 125,000 smallholder farmer households from 15 districts of Odisha managing 128,000 hectares of agricultural land. The project will strengthen the resilience of smallholder farmers against adverse climate by improving access to resilient seed varieties and production technologies, diversifying towards more climate-resilient crops, and improving access to better water management and irrigation services," read an official release by the Finance ministry."The project in Odisha is among several such initiatives supported by the government in our commitment to achieve the sustainable agriculture-related targets of the SDGs by 2030," said Additional Secretary of Department of Economic Affairs, Sameer Kumar Khare.Highlighting the challenges faced by small-scale farmers in the state due to erratic and extreme weather owing to climate change, World Bank Country Director Junaid Ahmad said that the project will create a resilient agricultural sector in the state and enhance food security."The project will support the rehabilitation of 532 water tanks - which expected to irrigate 91,435 hectares; promote productivity improvements at the farm level; support farmers to reduce the current emphasis on food grains (especially paddy and wheat) and increase the share of high-value and more nutritious products like fruits and vegetables," the release stated.The loan from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), has a 6-year grace period, and a maturity of 24 years. (ANI)

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