Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund (PPAF) began a project on “Enhancing Food Security through Strategic Interventions in Agriculture” in 12 union councils of districts Swabi and Torghar of KP.
The project aims to develop skills and knowledge of farmers on modern agricultural crop practices and facilitate setting up of agriculture value chains for improving livelihoods of small farmers.
A ceremony was held in Swabi in this regard which was presided by Speaker National Assembly, Asad Qaiser, also present were representatives from government line departments, MNAs, MPAs and officials from PPAF.
Cheques were also distributed among borrowers of the interest free loan component of the Government of Pakistan’s flagship Ehsaas Program for poverty alleviation on this occasion.
Lauding the efforts of PPAF and its partner organizations for starting a unique initiative targeting the farmer community, Speaker National Assembly said, “Farmers are the backbone of this country.
During my tenure as Speaker KPK assembly, I was closely involved in the agricultural sector. We introduced many projects for smart irrigation system and in future we hope to continue with the same zeal. Innovation in agriculture sector is a crucial and projects such as these will not only provide profitable alternative farming options to local communities but will also enhance their capacities.”
CEO Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund, Qazi Azmat Isa was also present at the launch ceremony. Speaking on this occasion, he said, “Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund has always been at the forefront of empowering people from the underprivileged communities. We are committed to achieving the sustainable development goals on poverty eradication by introducing innovative practices which could benefit people belonging to different sectors.”
Head of Programs, PPAF, Ms Simi Kamal highlighted the need for adoption of modern techniques in the agricultural sector in order to boost economic growth. “Pakistan’s GDP heavily relies on the agricultural sector and small farmers are one of the biggest assets of the country. It is pivotal for us to equip farmers about sustainable practices such as effective water utilization so they can maximize output and use resources wisely. This project shall lay a solid foundation for all of us”
The project which is being implemented by PPAF partner organizations namely CERD and IDEA has been designed to address the critical issue of poor crop productivity and low economic return. As part of the project, activities are planned to ensure efficient water input and improved agricultural value chains.
Community institutions will be formed along with establishment of field schools for farmers where they can be educated on sustainable practices. Additionally, modern agricultural enterprises will also be formulated for community institutions.
PPAF is also implementing the interest free loan component of the Ehsaas program through its partner organizations. Loans worth Rs. 16.65 billion have been disbursed so far to 490,122 borrowers. 45% of the borrowers being women. In KP alone, interest free loans of around Rs. 1,249.98 million have been rolled out to more than 39,956 borrowers.
The initiative draws funds from the Government of Pakistan, International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the Asian Development Bank (ADB).