Irrigation improvements and community based management to benefit Bolikhamsay's poorest farmers
Irrigation systems in Bolikhan and Viengthong districts, two of the poorest in Bolikhamsay province, will be rehabilitated and improved, alongside community based natural resource management activities, in a new US$1.3 million project.
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) project will be funded by the India Brazil and South Africa Trust Fund (IBSA). Luxembourg Development also supported the formulation phase and will provide further assistance during the project implementation.
The final formulation of activities has been completed and was presented at a meeting on 5 June in Paksane, Bolikhamsay province. In attendance was the Vice Governor of Bolikhamsay province , Khambounnat Xayanon, Vice Minister of Agriculture and Forestry, Dr. Parisak Pravongviengkham and UNDP Resident Representative, Minh Pham.
Irrigation infrastructure in Bolikhamsay was hard hit by the 2011 Haima and Nock-Ten storms. The project will help rehabilitate and improve a number of medium and small scale irrigation schemes.
The rehabilitation of the irrigation system in Bolikhan district will allow expanding dry season rice cultivation from 150 hectares to 500 hectares. After the construction of head works in Viengthong district, the command area should increase from 25 hectares to 320 hectares. Approximately 7,700 farmers in these two districts will directly benefit from the IBSA supported project.
Speaking at the signing ceremony, Minh Pham said, “ This is a very practical and tangible project directly implemented by provincial and district authorities. We are confident lessons learned will contribute to further policy refinements in the area of irrigation, participatory natural resources management and climate change adaptation in the agricultural sector.”
As well as the infrastructure improvements, water user groups will be mobilized to optimize water management and improve agricultural practices. The project will also support farmers practicing shifting cultivation in watershed areas surrounding the irrigation schemes. Improved shifting cultivation practices and the promotion of village forest management will help watershed management and reduce siltation and the risk of water damage to the irrigation infrastructure.
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