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LESSONS:

Northeast Minor Irrigation Project (Loan 1125-BAN[SF])

sector: Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Rural Development | country: Bangladesh

Detailed Project Preparation. There is no substitute for careful and rigorous project preparation to underpin investments in rural development. Such preparation must incorporate extensive involvement and input from all stakeholder groups (particularly from the project beneficiaries), as well as detailed assessments of institutional capacity and capability. In particular, such an exercise would have identified the potential demand for micro-credit from small and medium farmers as a serious constraint on uptake, and formulated a component to address this issue. (While a trade credit component was provided under the Project, farmers credit of $45 million to finance 20,000 shallow tubewells/STWs, 7,500 low lift pumps/LLPs, and 15,000 power tillers was also needed.) Adopting an investment proposal prepared by the Government needs to be examined very carefully to avoid the cancellation of such a substantial component.

Need for Post-Project Monitoring. Continued monitoring and expansion of the groundwater testing program initiated under the Project will be essential if groundwater development by the private sector is to expand significantly in the project area. This relates not only to issues of availability, but also to water quality.

Extension of Project Impacts. The ‘bridging’ program undertaken by the Government after the ADB project account was closed has clearly demonstrated the impact of ongoing demonstration activities as a key ingredient to the further transfer of groundwater technologies into the project area. This bridging has significantly increased the impact of the Project by maintaining the momentum for minor irrigation development activities.

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