ISLAMABAD (APP) - The World Bank has approved a US$50 million IDA credit to Pakistan, designed to improve water resource management and enhance agricultural productivity in Sindh Province. According to World Bank, about half of Sindhs 35 million people live in rural areas, and 70 percent who are landless, derive almost 60 percent of their income from agriculture. The additional financing for the Sindh On-Farm Water Management Project aims to improve the efficiency, reliability, and equity of irrigation water distribution at watercourse levels and enhance agricultural productivity. Under the additional financing around 3,000 watercourses will be improved, which comprises earthen improvements, lining, installation of concrete turnouts (pucca nuccas), and culverts in watercourses. The improved watercourses under the original Sindh On-Farm Water Management Project have made positive impacts in terms of enhanced and more equitable water supply and increased incomes by farmers. This additional financing will help extend these benefits to broader sections of the farming community in Sindh according to the World Bank (WB) assessment report. The Province has about 42, 000 watercourses and so far 17,000 watercourses have been improved/lined under various On-Farm water management programmes, including the Sindh On-Farm Water Management Project. The additional financing will also support efforts to boost agricultural productivity through demonstration on tunnel farming for high value crops, and training of farmers in improved water management, agricultural practices, and new technology and information dissemination. This project supports capacity building and social mobilization of farmers in order to develop and strengthen sustainable Watercourse Associations which will participate in planning, designing, and implementing the rehabilitation works and will also operate and maintain the improved watercourses. The credit from the International Development Association (IDA), the World Banks concessionary lending arm, carries a 0.75 percent service fee, a 10-year grace period, and a maturity of 35 years.