WBADMI Project (2012-2019) with the World Bank support was an innovative project to reach out to the small & marginal farmers particularly tribal and women. The Project is unique in the sense that till now all the irrigation project/programs were executed in the silos/isolation. This is for the first time that an integrated effort was made wherein Irrigation facilities combined with Agriculture, horticulture and fishery activities in the created command area. More importantly, Water Users Associations (WUAs) have been organized and empowered to operate & maintain their Irrigation schemes and better manage available water resource in a sustainable manner. The project provided the full flexibility, human & financial resources and single window delivery system to demonstrate integrated development model around irrigation.
WBADMIP created irrigation potential for 67000 Ha covering 1, 00,000+ farmers (Small & Marginal Farmers-83%, Tribal-12% and Women-17%).
The State Government is very much satisfied with the learning & experiences from WBADMIP. It has clearly demonstrated the importance of community involvement as WUAs for long term sustainability of the project interventions. Introduction & facilitation for the adoption of agriculture, horticulture and fishery activities has helped in improving more effective & efficient functioning of the irrigation schemes. Crop diversification, Introduction of Pulses & Oil seed crops in cultivable waste land, development of private wastelands, facilitating adoption of Good practices & technologies, organic practices and entrepreneurial activities particularly fisheries has helped in improving the socio-economic status collectively.
The project has been very effective in improving the socio-economic status of the community especially tribal and women, improved health-nutrition-education and has reduced conflicts & stressed migration. WUA is now an accepted entity in the villages which participates in water management and conflict resolution. They have operated effectively even during COVID-19, during flood etc.
Use of various technologies particularly GIS has revolutionized departmental planning, approval, design & estimation, monitoring and impact assessment of the project. It has helped in more effective decision making, effective, efficient & quality delivery of the desired outputs, judicious use of available resource & cost estimates, saving in costs & wasteful expenses, establishing two way communications between the State and District teams. More importantly it helped in taking corrective actions based on the experiences.
WBADMIP experiences & learning were intensively used in State flagship Project “Jaltirtha” Project on Minor irrigation schemes in Western Districts since 2015. Another scheme, namely, “Matir-Sristi” deals with Mix-fruit plantation on wastelands which has been designed based on the experiences. GIS expertise developed under the project has been used by Panchayat & rural development Department, Ananddhara Project (State Rural Livelihood Mission), Kolkata Municipal Corporation etc. World Bank has also shared these experiences at various platforms.
WBADMIP also explored and executed the possibilities of collaboration through convergence with various departmental schemes/programs. Now the Project facilitated models are emerging where the Departmental schemes/programs are coming forward to help the Project promoted WUAs.
Project also initiated the convergence/collaborative efforts with Private sector for high value crop production and floriculture in Poly houses. Recently initiated Mobile based agri-advisory services “Krishi-Katha” for agriculture and fishery activities to WUA members has been a very effective tool to reach the community during Covid-19.
The project has collaborated with prestigious national and international institutions for Impact evaluation and recommendation for further improvement. Those institutes include Harvard Kennedy School, International Water Management Institute (IWMI) and Institute of Rural management Anand (IRMA), Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research ACIAR), Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur etc. and reached at the stage of collaborative working agreement with International Center for Agricultural Research in Dry Areas (ICARDA) and World Agro Forestry Center etc.
Department has proposed formation of design-cum-GIS Cell and WUA cell in the Department supported by Project’s experience. This is to ensure WBADMIP’s Standard operating procedures as Department’s common practice. The only challenge is to meet the cost of NGOs as support organizations for promoting WUA system. The proposal is being submitted to the finance Department for their approval.
WBADMIP has demonstrated and has come out with various District/Agro-Climatic region / different topography specific models and now the Department has realized the importance of these models and is willing to adopt these experiences in their departmental regular practices. The challenge with the department is to institutionalize the whole process and continued World Bank support will help the department to institutionalize and replicate the Project learning/experiences.
Accordingly the Department has submitted proposal for the World Bank support as WBADMIP-Phase II as replication phase for six years. It is with the objective to increase the income of the 250000 farmers by creating 125000 Ha additional command area through agribusiness support to Water Users Associations/Federations (Farmers Producer Organizations-FPOs). It will be mainly to upgrade existing Schemes/WUAs, Strengthening Departmental Schemes and new schemes created by the Project.