India: Jharkhand receives loan to tackle rural incomes

1 Aug 17

The India government and the World Bank have loaned $100m to the eastern Indian state of Jharkhand to improve conditions in rural areas.

Some 200,000 rural households and 3,500 farmer producer groups are expected to benefit.

Jharkhand was split from Bihar into a separate state in 2000. The bank said 60% of its farms were marginal or small, produced single crops and were highly vulnerable to climate change, with recent droughts having led to the loss of 40% of crops.

The loan would be used to the state develop climate-resilient agriculture and diversify into high-yielding varieties of pulses and oilseeds.

It would also be put towards improving productivity in rice paddies, community-based micro irrigation and support moves into value added sectors such as livestock, fisheries, and non-timber forest produce.  

Chakib Jenane, acting country director and lead agriculture economist for the World Bank in India, said: “Improving farm profitability and rural incomes, especially in rain-fed areas can play a central role in achieving rapid and inclusive agricultural growth.

“By closely aligning with the institutional structure of women’s self- groups in the state, this project will contribute to the government’s efforts at reducing gender gaps in agriculture and financial inclusion, and also to improve food and nutrition status of rural mothers, adolescent girls and children in Jharkhand.”

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