MANILA, Nov. 16 (Xinhua) -- The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a 300-million-U.S. dollar loan to promote sustainable agriculture systems and protect the ecology in the upper and middle reaches of China's Yangtze River.
"ADB's assistance - which benefits the provinces of Guizhou, Hubei, Hunan, Sichuan, and Yunnan, as well as the Municipality of Chongqing - supports the Yangtze River Economic Belt Development Plan. The plan prioritizes ecological protection and the promotion of green development in the longest and one of the most important rivers in the country," ADB said in a statement released on Friday.
"Pollution from industry and poor farming practices has degraded the land and water quality in the middle and upper reaches of the Yangtze River Basin, causing about 37 billion U.S. dollars per year in agricultural productivity losses," said ADB Senior Natural Resources and Agriculture Specialist Suzanne Robertson.
"ADB's assistance will help address these issues, improving livelihoods of the people in the project areas and the overall ecological health of the Yangtze River Basin," she added.
According to ADB, The Yangtze River Green Ecological Corridor Comprehensive Agriculture Development Project will finance the construction and provision of modern farming systems in the project areas.
For instance, 1,326 kilometers of irrigation and drainage infrastructure, which can service 32,900 hectares of farmland, will be constructed along with 3,535 water storage ponds.
It will also provide equipment and materials to implement sustainable and modern farming practices, including farm machinery and greenhouses.
In addition, the project will improve waste and environment management systems such as promoting collection of plastics, building biogas plants to deal with animal waste, and promoting the use of organic fertilizers.