SKARDU: (PR) Regional Coordination Unit Baltistan of Economic Transformation Initiative, Gilgit-Baltistan (ETI-GB) signed two MoUs with community of Gole village Skardu and Kunais Ganche to bring 140 acres barren land (70 acres each) under cultivation through solar powered lift irrigation system. The estimated cost of these pilot projects is over 6 million rupees. Due to high cost and long implementation durarion for these prjects conventional gravity-irrigation projects are becoming least efficient. Therefore, ETI is piloting cost effective solutions for lift irrigation schemes on main rivers to irrigate barren lands along main rivers that have potential to add thousand of kanals of additional land to agriculture production system. These systems can additionally be supported with high effeciency irrigation systems such as drip and sprinkler. On these sites modern agriculture practices would also be demonstrated including orchards and structural farming to enhance agriculture production. ETI-GB which is a programme of Government of Gilgit-Baltistan co-funded by IFAD, working in the refion since 2016 with an aim to enhance rural income and reduce poverty and malnutrition through building economic infrastructure such as water channels ans farm to market roads, village producers’ groups and associations and improving value chain particularly in appricot and sees potato sector.
As of now, through RCU-Baltistan, a total of 14 irrigation and land development schemes worth 291 million are under implementation under community led implementation model in Ganche District. These projects benefit over 3500 households by more than 1 acres of land to their holding. Through these projects over 7000 acres (56000 kanal) barren land is brought under cultivation. Of these schemes 6 schemes have already been completed and 3 have been handed over to the communities.
Apart from ILD interventions, over 50kms of farm to market roads are under implementation that will connect these newly developed lands and already developed patches which are disconnected from main valley roads and farmers face issues in marketing their agricultre produce to markets.