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Improved irrigation and flood protection for farmland in Baghlan

in Afghan Business

Improved irrigation and flood protection for farmland in Baghlan

Two newly rebuilt irrigation canals were officially handed over to local government and communities in Baghaln on Thursday.

The work done on the Govergan and Baladory canals will help improve irrigation for approximately 11,000 hectares of farmland in the districts Pul-e Khumri, Dand-e-Ghori and New Baghlan. In addition, the canals were upgraded to offer better flood protection for approximately 300 hectares of land.

“For the German Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development and the provincial administration of Baghlan, any improvement in the wide field of agriculture is of special interest. Around 70% of the people in the province make their livelihoods directly and indirectly from farming. We hope these steps boost confidence and make Afghan citizens aware that their government is taking care of them effectively,” said Manfred Meyer, the German Development Representative for Kunduz and Baghlan.

On a total stretch of 70 kilometres, the restoration and rebuilding work for both canals included cleaning, reshaping, repairing and also reinforcing the waterways against flooding. Intake structures – for regulating irrigation to farmlands – were made more durable to withstand the annual rainfalls and consequent flooding. Further measures included river training, embankment reinforcements and stabilization work along the Kunduz River. The combination of these measures allows the rural population to farm their land profitably along the lower Kunduz River, also known as the Baghlan-Kunduz River. The two canals feed up to 11,000 hectares of agricultural and horticultural land, which serves as a source of food and income for over 110,000 people.

The overall cost of construction amounted to €5 million (around AFN 370 million), funded by the German government through KfW Development Bank. The Provincial Development Committee (PDC) cooperated in the management and supervision of the project. The measures were selected on the basis of the development priorities set for Baghlan. Implementation was managed by Germany’s Regional Infrastructure Development Fund (RIDF) for Afghanistan, an open and flexible programme aimed at improving the socio-economic infrastructure in the northern provinces.

While the Baghlan-Kunduz River is an indispensable lifeline for local communities, it can threaten livelihoods, food and revenue security when its banks overflow and destroy irrigation channels and farmland. The traditional intakes were regularly damaged in the yearly floods and demanded regular rebuilding measures. The newly refurbished, sustainable structures along the Govergan and Baladory canals help reduce the threat considerably. The greater resilience and reliability in containing floods and lessening damage to irrigation systems contribute to improving the socio-economic development in local communities.

The RIDF is funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) through KfW Entwicklungsbank. Projects are selected by the Provincial Development Committees and are then implemented by the provincial departments of the Afghan Ministries of Finance, Economy, Energy and Water, Rural Rehabilitation and Development, Education, Public Works with the support of the Joint Venture Grontmij-GOPA-INTEGRATION. The fund was started in 2010, and it operates in the provinces Balkh, Badakhshan, Baghlan, Kunduz and Takhar.

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