About the Project

The Community Managed Irrigated Agriculture Sector Project – Additional Financing (CMIASP-AF) consists of additional financing is for the original CMIASP, which has performed well but was closed in 2014. The new project (CMIASP-AF) is expanding project outputs and activities to additional areas and continues to support the government’s development objectives and has been accorded top priority by the government. For this purpose, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a USD 30 million loan on 10 April 2014 and the OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID) has signed a USD 30 million co-financing agreement on 23 September 2014. The ADB loan became effective on 3 June 2014 and the OFID loan has also been recently declared effective. The project aims to enhance the productivity of 150 existing Farmer Managed Irrigation Schemes (FMIS) in the Eastern and Central development regions (EDR and CDR), covering a total command area of 19,920 ha. 145 of these are traditionally FMIS, and 5 are Agency Managed Irrigation Systems (AMIS) constructed by government that have been receiving minimal government support for operation and maintenance. After successful rehabilitation the management responsibility in these 5 systems will be transferred to the respective WUAs. The expected impact of the project will be that farmers have increased food security. The expected outcome is that participating farmers increase agricultural production to its full potential. Productivity will be measured through (i) yields of major crops increased by at least 30% in the Terai and 45% in the hills, and (ii) cropping intensity in irrigated areas increased by at least 30%.
To achieve its expected outcome, the project will have four outputs:   continue reading..

The Importance of, and challenges for, Farmer Managed Irrigation Schemes(FMIS)

The FMIS occupy a special status in the national economy and food security system. It is estimated that of the total irrigated area in Nepal of 1.28 million ha, 70% or this area is covered by FMIS and 40% of food production comes from 15,000 FMIS in hill areas and 1700 systems in the Terai. In the FMISs, farmers are responsible for all management activities, encompassing water acquisition from the source to delivery to the plant in the field and management of the system including the resource mobilization and management of resources for O&M. In most of the systems, the extent of the need for resource mobilization for O&M of the irrigation systems has influenced the structure of the organization.
FMIS are now facing many challenges such as, competition on the use of water, the need for use of industrialized construction materials due to the depletion of the local construction materials, under-funding of agriculture development and a stagnated rural economy. Most FMIS face seasonal water deficit, which is getting more and more severe as Nepal has been experiencing a high rate of warming (annual rate of 0.04-0.06°C).  continue reading..

Rehabilitation and Improvement of Irrigation Systems

Since the maintenance of FMIS is basically labor-intensive, the outmigration fueled labour shortage has accelerated the deterioration of many of the irrigation systems. It is estimated that at present 25% of the FMIS have serious infrastructure problems rendering large parts or even the complete system defunct. About 70% of the FMIS suffer from deferred maintenance and minor infrastructure damages which have reduced the overall quality or the irrigation service provided. It is estimated that only about 5% of the FMIS are operating to their full potential . To keep the FMIS viable; (i) water management in water deficient (sub) basins will have to be improved as well as the conveyance and application efficiencies of the individual systems; (ii) systems have to be modernized to reduce the O&M burden on the users, and; (iii) the return from irrigated agriculture will have to be improved to sustain the livelihood of the small holder households and to provide a viable alternative to outmigration. The irrigation infrastructure improvemente will be achieved through the participatory planning, detailed design, and construction of diversion structures, cross-drainage works, improved and extended canal systems including canal lining, and flood protection facilities. All subproject infrastructure design will be done in close consultation with WUAs. WUAs will provide beneficiary contribution in labor and/or cash for subproject infrastructure costs, consistent with the government’s irrigation policy (2013).

Management Transfer in Agency Managed Irrigation Scheme (AMIS)

The main objective of irrigation management transfer is to improve the performance of agency managed irrigation systems through rehabilitation of the existing system back to full operation level, enhancement of WUA capability and transfer of responsibilities to users. The whole IMT process should motivate the farmers to adopt improved farming techniques, use water more productively and pay the required fees for sustainable system operation and maintenance.
The main activities that comprise irrigation management transfer are; (i) structural improvement works; (ii) WUA institutional development activities and; (iii) agriculture and water management activities. As much as possible, the activities are being implemented simultaneously as they are complementary and all contribute to the same goal of sustained increase in irrigated agriculture production. 3 large (Chapakot 885 ha, Attrauli Puttar 435 ha and Chaurjahari 600 ha), and 2 medium (Ramgatar 220 ha and Phalebas 338 ha), agency managed hill irrigation schemes have been selected for rehabilitation of essential irrigation infrastructure and subsequent transfer of operation and management responsibilities to the respective WUAs.

Institutional Development

The project is empowering WUAs to manage the rehabilitation of the infrastructure, operate and maintain their systems without government support, and distribute the water equitably and adequately throughout the command area. WUA executive committees are being reconstituted, as necessary, to ensure equal representation of the head, middle, and tail of the canal system, and to empower women and other disadvantaged farmers to lead in system management. WUAs in subprojects that are currently agency-managed are developing plans to manage their systems without government support. The institutional development of WUAs involves training and follow up support in formalizing the list of WUA members, establishment of sound administration and accounting practices, and the formulation of plans for operation, maintenance and water management in the system, including the collection of irrigation service fees.

Agriculture Development

Currently agricultural practices in subproject areas are predominantly conventional. Farmers are using their own seed stock repeatedly for 5–10 years, resulting in lost production potential. Chemical fertilizer use is unbalanced, and farmers are not well trained in making organic fertilizers. Inefficient plot-to-plot flooding irrigation is regularly practiced rather than constructing field channels. The project is providing agricultural extension services to subproject areas to build the capacity of farmers in sustainable agricultural systems. Similar to the CMIASP the agriculture extension services are being provided through subproject specific agriculture development plans. based on a standard set of available extension services by the District Agriculture Development Offices (DADOs) and their Agriculture Service Centers (ASCs).

Gender Equity and Social Inclusion

The project has prepared a Gender Equity and Social Inclusion (GESI) Plan to address the gender inequality and social exclusion issues under the project. The GESI plan contains specific targets for participation of and ensuring project benefits reach women, dalits and janajatis including female-headed households, small and marginal farmers, and tail enders of the irrigation systems. The senior development specialists of the PIMS consultants are responsible for overseeing implementation and reporting of the GESI action plan. In this they are assisted by the social development specialists and institutional development of Project Implementation and Management Support (PIMS) consultants. Support and supervision of field level activities included in the GESI action plan are being carried out by the social and community mobilizers of the PIMS consultant’s team.

Environmental Management

The Project is categorized as B for environment safeguard and therefore requires preparation of initial environmental examination (IEE) for all subprojects. As the project supports rehabilitation of existing relatively small-scale irrigation systems that have been built and operated by the beneficiary farmers’ own effort, no major adverse environmental impacts are expected. The project expects to have only minimal and localized environmental adverse impacts which can be easily minimized and addressed by undertaking effective mitigation measures during the construction stage as proposed in the environmental management plans (EMPs) for each subproject

Geo-referenced Information and Maps

An overview of subproject locations and details of the individual system layouts are available on a series of selectable background maps. The layout maps of the individual subprojects show the intake, command area, main and branch canals and location of irrigation canal structures along the user updated photographs, notes etc. A standardized tablet/smartphone field report system has been developed for reporting the results of field supervision and monitoring visits to subproject sites by the PIMS consultants. The location of the subprojects visited by the PIMS consultants are shown on the subproject location map and by clicking on a location marked as visited, the results and observations on the ongoing activities will be displayed. The field visit reports can also be directly accessed from the home page.

Current Activities

The data on physical and financial progress of the construction works along with accompanying WUA institutional development, agriculture extension activities, compliance with social and environmental safeguards and maps are updated continuously by the various users. Summary of the current activities are automatically generated by the system.

About Internet Based Project Information System

This MIS is a complete overhaul of the original system developed under the CMIASP. This new MIS has been developed through a collaborative effort between the International team leader and the GIS/MIS technician of the PIMS and SOFTWEL (P) Ltd in Association with AVIYAAN Consulting (P) Ltd of Nepal.