Emergency Irrigation Rehabilitation Project

The project's primary objective was to assist the Government of Afghanistan in carrying out its agricultural rehabilitation, involving the provision to farmers and their families of improved, reliable and equitable distributed irrigation water to increase agricultural productivity and farm incomes improve food security and livelihoods and reduce vulnerability to draughts. The success of the project is to be measured by two (2) key outcomes - increased agricultural production and increased irrigated farming area.

The project created sustainable and significant increase in food crop production from small holder farmers by improved water delivery and control; it enhanced land tenure arrangements optimizing both land ownership and crop sharing.

From sample schemes in four regions - Jalalabad, Kabul, Kunduz, and Mazar, the ratio of land operated to land owned before project intervention (Pre-EIRP) was about 70%, however after project intervention (Post-EIRP), the ratio had increased to 93% resulting in an average increase in land value of 29,444 Afghanis/hectare. The resulting efficient use of land was achieved through regular water flow from well functioning irrigation schemes and efficient irrigation water management. Perhaps the greatest benefit of the rehabilitated irrigation schemes has been the effect on food crop production in particular wheat. Wheat is Afghanistan's staple food, and its availability in great quantities ensures that the basic food needs of the population is met, thus enhancing food security and rural livelihood.

The rehabilitation of the irrigation schemes has clearly brought about an increase in water supply for irrigated agriculture, livestock and domestic purposes. Based on surveys conducted 74% of the farmers in project areas ascertained that the rehabilitated systems were delivering the quantities of water required at various points in the system on a more regular basis; while 72% expressed satisfaction with receiving their appropriate share based on the water distribution schedule.

Due to increased water supply and improved management of water distribution, the downstream water users are now receiving their appropriate share of water, thus 62% of farmers surveyed conformed that water disputes have been minimized. The project was able to address equity issues, farmers and water users now have substantial access to water due to emphasis on head works and primary and secondary canal works.

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