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July 19, 2019

UN-backed agro industry development project to start next month

Business

July 19, 2019

ISLAMABAD: Government will begin a United Nations-backed project next month to develop value chains in agriculture, livestock, dairy and fisheries sectors, food ministry said on Thursday.

Ministry of National Food Security and Research will formally launch the project in the first week of August this year. The United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) developed the project, called ‘Agro-Food and Agro-Industry Development in Pakistan’, in consultation with the ministry of national food security and research and provincial agriculture department to develop agriculture, livestock, dairy and fisheries value chains, starting from Gilgit Baltistan with its further spread to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan.

“The project aims to strengthen cattle meat and apple value chains, through the introduction of new techniques in productive and compliance capacities in these sectors which in turn will improve the livelihood of farmers and reduce rural poverty in the provinces of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan,” the ministry said in a statement.

The country representatives of UNIDO called on Minister for National Food Security and Research Mehboob Sultan to discuss the project launch. UNIDO is a specialised agency in the United Nations system. The mission of UNIDO is to promote and accelerate inclusive and sustainable industrial development in member states. Pakistan and UNIDO started collaboration for formulating the country program framework for inclusive and sustainable agriculture development to achieve food safety and security.

The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) said the country is struggling with issues such as under-nourishment, micronutrient deficiencies, and a deficit of safe drinkable water. “Per capita consumption of food products that possess high-nutritional value like beef, chicken, fish, milk, vegetables and fruits is almost 6-10 times lower than that of developed countries,” the SBP said in a latest report.

The SBP, however, said Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Gilgit Baltistan are relatively more food secure than Sindh and Balochistan. A country representative of UNIDO apprised the minister about the approval of the project and subsequent funding by Japan, which is $5.2 million.

Two-phase approach for inception and implementation of the project will be adopted to execute mutually-agreed activities after a consultative process to address the issues of value chain for dried and fresh fruit vegetables, oil and oilseed, livestock and dairy and fisheries with piloting of new interventions with the involvement of relevant departments at provincial level as well as the institutions.

Sultan said the government launched the Prime Minister’s agriculture emergency program and livestock is one of the major projects. The process of identification of foot-and-mouth disease free zones is also underway in Kyhber Pakhtunkhwa and UNIDO might also collaborate, he added. Secretary National Food Security and Research Hashim Popalzai and other officials of the food ministry attended the meeting.

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