The governments of India and Tamil Nadu on Tuesday signed an agreement with the World Bank for the multilateral lender to provide a $318 million loan for modernisation of irrigation projects in Tamil Nadu, improve market opportunities for small and marginal farmers and their adoption of climate-resilient techniques. According to an official statement here, around 5 lakh farmers, of which a majority are small and marginal, are expected to benefit from improved and modernized tank irrigation systems. “About 500,000 farmers, of which a majority are small and marginal, are expected to benefit from improved and modernised tank irrigation systems,” a Finance Ministry statement said.

Under the Tamil Nadu Irrigated Agriculture Modernisation project, about 4,800 irrigation tanks and 477 check dams across 66 sub-basins will be rehabilitated and modernised to deliver bulk water to irrigation systems in the state, it said. Tamil Nadu is a water-stressed state that continues to experience water shortages which are expected to exacerbate in future, the statement added.

“More than 160,000 hectares of currently partially irrigated lands will come into full irrigation under this project,” the statement cited Department of Economic Affairs Joint Secretary Sameer Kumar Khare as saying at the loan signing event here. “This project will help Tamil Nadu scale up its efforts to unlock the full potential of its agriculture sector. It will support farmers improve the efficiency of water used in farming, diversify into high-value crops and produce crops that are resilient to increasing threats of climate change,” said World Bank Country Director (acting) John Blomquist.

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