WASHINGTON, United States (CMC) — The World Bank has approved more than US$33 million for two Caribbean Community (Caricom) countries to further develop the agricultural sector and flood risk management.
The Washington-based financial institution said that it is providing US$7.75 million to the French-speaking Caricom country of Haiti to finance the resilient productive landscapes, which aims to improve adoption of resilient agriculture and landscape management practices.
Guyana will receive US$26 million in additional financing to support the ongoing flood risk management project.
“The World Bank is supporting Haiti’s agricultural production during the emergency caused by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Anabela Abreu, World Bank Country Director for Haiti.
“This financing is important to improve livelihoods in the agriculture sector through increased productivity and better access to markets.
“The project will also support the long-term sustainability of agriculture through adaptation to changing weather patterns,” she added.
The World Bank said the agricultural sector supplies up to 45 per cent of Haitian food needs and represents the main source of income for the rural population.
However, the bank said production remains highly dependent on rainfall, adding that most farmers have limited access to agricultural inputs, knowledge, or credit.
“Increasing productivity and resilience of Haiti’s agriculture sector requires an integrated approach that protects the environment, while seeking to increase returns,” the World Bank said.
“The financing approved will support improved landscape management and farming practices, as well as market access for farmers. It will also strengthen the capacity of the Haitian Government to respond promptly and effectively in the case of a disaster.”
The World Bank said the resilient productive landscapes project was approved in March 2018 with a US$15 million grant from the International Development Association (IDA), and US$6.21 million from the Global Environmental Facility (GEF).
In April 2020, the Contingency Emergency Response Component (CERC) for US$9.9 million was activated to support food security during the pandemic and has so far supported a total of 12,874 farmers in the Nippes and South regions, and provided farming and technical support for more than 8,700 hectares of cropland, the World Bank said.
It also said that the US$26 million in additional financing for Guyana will help to improve the country’s climate resilience, protect economic activity and reduce the impact of natural disasters.
“Ninety per cent of Guyana’s inhabitants live on the narrow coastal plain, much of which lies below sea level. Flooding poses a serious and recurrent risk to both the lives of people and to livelihoods in the agricultural sector. These additional resources will help protect some of the country’s most populous areas and build greater resilience,” said Ozan Sevimli, World Bank Resident Representative for Jamaica and Guyana.
The World Bank said the project aims to significantly increase flood resilience in the low-lying coastal lands of the East Demerara area, which includes the country’s capital, Georgetown, where much of the population as well as administrative and commercial activities are concentrated.
The additional financing will include extensive work to improve the East Demerara Water Conservancy (EDWC), one of Guyana’s major water storage and flood control facilities, the bank said.
It said the project will improve the drainage systems that ensure the integrity of the EDWC dams.
The World Bank said water stored in the EDWC dam is used to irrigate agricultural lands, provide water for use in homes and reduce the risk of flooding.
The bank said the project will include an update of the Emergency Preparedness Plan, flood modelling, the rehabilitation of small existing irrigation structures, capacity building, communication and outreach activities to better inform the public.
“These activities are expected to contribute to reducing the outbreaks of infectious illnesses due to flooding, alleviating the burden on the healthcare system that is currently managing the COVID-19 pandemic,” the World Bank said.
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