AfDB approves €50.20 million loan for National Drainage Programme to boost agriculture in Egypt

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The African Development Bank (AfDB) will support Egypt’s National Drainage programme (NDP) to boost agricultural production and household income generation with a €50.20 million loan approved by AfDB Board on Wednesday, May 17 in Abidjan.

The programme aims to optimize the benefits of irrigation by draining excess irrigation water from agricultural land in order to reduce water logging and soil salinity as well as make more land available for cultivation. Efficient drainage will result in improved soil quality for 125,000 feddans (125,000 acres) covered by the project. This will result in increased crop productivity by 15-21% for selected crops, increased farm income by 40% for a typical one feddan farm, and improved food security and poverty reduction in general. The project will be implemented in five regions of the country: East Delta, Middle Delta, West Delta, Middle Egypt and Upper Egypt.

The project components include: (i) Construction and Rehabilitation of Subsurface and Surface Drainage for 125,000 feddans; (ii) Strengthening the capacity of the Egyptian Public Authority for Drainage Projects (EPADP) for Operation and Maintenance; and (iii) Project Coordination and Management.

The primary beneficiaries will be the farming households in the project areas. The primary/target beneficiaries will be approximately 125,000 households or 625,000 people, of which 50% are women. Some indirect project beneficiaries include labourers who will benefit from employment on construction of the drainage system. Increased incomes in the project areas will also result in increased off-farm activities where traders and business people will also benefit indirectly.

Phases I and II of the NDP were financed by the World Bank, German government-owned development bank (KfW) and the European Investment Bank (EIB). The current third phase of the programme will be financed by the AfDB, Islamic Development Bank (IsDB), KfW and the EU. The project activities for each of the donors are very similar but cover different geographical areas.