On-Farm Water Management (OFWM)

On-Farm Water Management (OFWM)

Donor: World Bank/ ARTF

Budget: $ 41 Million

Duration: 3 years

Location: Kabul, Nangarhar, Mazar-i-Sharif, Herat & Bamyan

Status: Ongoing project with MAIL

 Overall Objective:

The main objective of the On Farm Water Management (OFWM) project is to provide farmers with improved, reliable, and equitable distribution of irrigation water to increase agricultural productivity. The physical improvements of tertiary irrigation facilities are equally important to complement effectiveness of the upstream developments.  The same will enhance farm incomes, ensure food security, provide better livelihood to the farmers, and reduce poverty in the rural areas where most of the Afghans live. The Afghanistan OFWM project has the following objectives:

  • Enable farmers to better operate and maintain (O&M) tertiary level irrigation infrastructure by establishing and/or strengthening local organizations including the traditional community water management institution (Mirab) and Irrigation Associations (IAs).
  • Restore, rehabilitate, reconstruct, and improve tertiary level irrigation water conveyance infrastructure (watercourses) to reduce conveyance losses, facilitate equitable water distribution, and create ease in irrigation operations.
  • Promote improved water management practices amongst farmers for increasing land productivity (= crop production per unit area) and water productivity (= crop production per unit water) by establishing irrigation demonstration sites (IDSs).
  • Strengthen the capacity of the Irrigation Directorate of the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation, and Livestock (MAIL).
  • Project management, implementation, coordination, and monitoring for smooth execution of planned activities.


This project has the following components covering a total of 50,000 ha owned/ cultivated by about 100,000 farm families. The project is also expected to result in an incremental irrigated area of some 5,000 ha.


Component A: On Farm Water Management

This component will support establishment of five (05) OFWM project areas comprising in total some 50,000 hectares and will include the following three sub-components:

  • Establishment and/ or strengthening of irrigation associations (IAs) in order to enable them to assume the role in irrigation water management and operation & maintenance (O&M) in line with new Afghan Water Law (1388).
  • Improvement of the on-farm physical irrigation infrastructure (tertiary networks in schemes which have already been rehabilitated by EIRP) to reduce system water losses and facilitate equitable water distribution.
  • Demonstration and dissemination of improved water saving techniques including (a) high efficiency/ pressurized irrigation systems and (b) agronomic water saving measures.

Component B: MAIL’s Institutional Strengthening and Capacity Building       

The project will support institutional strengthening and capacity building of MAIL. The final objective is that MAIL staff is able to plan, design, implement, and monitor OFWM programs throughout the country.

Component C:  Project Management, Coordination, Monitoring & Evaluation

This component will support: (i) project implementation by the Project Implementation Unit (PIU); (ii) project management by the General Directorate of Programs (GDP) on fiduciary (procurement and financial management) and safeguard aspects; (iii) coordination with other projects, as well as with donors involved in the water resource sector; and (iv) an efficient monitoring and evaluation mechanism.


Progress/ Achievements

Component 1 (Water Management):

  • Development of 15 irrigation associations (10 in Kabul, and 5 in Nangarhar), and collection of member fee ( in Nangarhar one of the  IAs has collected 70,000 AFN as member fee)
  • Drafting By-laws to formalize the process of registration of irrigation association is started
  • Completion of reconnaissance survey on more than 50 irrigation schemes in these three


Regions to ensure that they fit OFWMP irrigation schemes selection criteria:

  • Technical surveys  on 7 Irrigation Schemes in two regions of Kabul and Nangarhar
  •  Design document completion of 03 schemes covering more than 1200 ha agri-land
  •  Design document completion of 03 Irrigation Demonstration Plots
  •   M & E baseline data has been collected for all surveyed irrigation schemes
  • Social Safeguard screening reports have been built for all surveyed schemes


 Component 2 (Training and Capacity building):

Training arrangement at the Lahore Water Management Institute is in the final stages, and an agreement will be signed soon between On-Farm Water Management and Punjab Water Management (WMTI) Institute. The first batch of 25 On-farm project staff is expected to go in the month of April.

Component 3 (Project Management and Coordination):

  • Hiring of 85% staff for all 5 Area Teams, and full establishment of 3 Area Offices at Kabul, Nangarhar and Balkh regions. Mazar office has just started its activities, which will be followed by Bamyan, and Herat Area offices.
  • Hiring of consultancy firm (Implementation Support Consultant Team -ISCT) to technically support On-Farm Water  Management project is at the proposal submission stage
  • M & E firm TOR has been finalized
  • Hiring of NGOs/Facilitating partners  for the development of Irrigation Associations is at the RFP stage
  • Financial Management Manual is approved by the Bank
  • Project Grant agreement has been signed by the Government of Afghanistan and the World Bank on 16-Mar-2011



Slow and bureaucratic hiring process of key support staff like finance manager, procurement officer has led to the most difficult situation in the project preparation and implementation. Paying staff salaries and providing petty cash for running offices at the center and at the regions is an issue that we are coping with. A meeting with the MAIL’s Minister is held to sought his help in speeding up the process of hidings, and the signs of improvement is visible now

Procurement of important equipments led us a limited progress on implementation side. Successful meetings with the Bank were held to sought guidance and support in the procurement process.

Signing of agreement between the MAIL and Punjab Water Management Institute is taking longer than what was originally thought. Progress has been made through continuous communication with Director General of Punjab on-farm water management.