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October 26, 2019

Ehsaas value chain building committee meets

Islamabad

October 26, 2019

Islamabad:Eight federal and four provincial ministries were at the table when the multisectoral Ehsaas Value Chain Building Committee met for the first time here Friday. Participants agreed that problems linked to agriculture are complex, and creation of value chains, and private sector investment will help farmers with fragmented and small land holdings to come out of poverty.

Poverty in rural areas is deeply linked to agriculture and Pakistan is faced with unique challenges particularly small landholdings, subsistence farming, exploitation by extractive Aarhtis (middlemen) and stress selling. “Unless private sector investment is made in building rural value chains, it will be difficult to break away from the rural poverty cycle. The Ehsaas Value Chain Building Committee’s diverse perspectives will help shape a value chain building policy to address these challenges,” the participants agreed.

During the meeting, detailed input was provided on major challenges facing the agriculture sector. It was deliberated that although agriculture is the backbone of our economy, the sector confronts problems at different levels particularly elite capture, limited technical capacity, poor awareness, access to finance constraints, extractive middlemen perpetuating the debt trap, lack of fiscal incentives and lack of a coherent value chain building policy. Hence, farm productivity, crop yield, food security, exports, livelihoods, farmers’ wellbeing are negatively impacted, and poverty is perpetuated.

The Committee, which was convened by Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation Dr. Sania Nishtar, will meet again shortly to deliberate on a detailed analysis to be presented by the International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD).

The Committee it brings together expertise and policy influence from numerous stakeholders. “We will be appointing technical co-chairs for this committee so that this important work can be fast-tracked and monitored on a weekly basis,” said Dr. Sania.