Chief Minister Mahmood Khan hands over chicken to a woman in Peshawar on Monday as part of government’s poultry farming project. — White Star
Chief Minister Mahmood Khan hands over chicken to a woman in Peshawar on Monday as part of government’s poultry farming project. — White Star

PESHAWAR: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Mahmood Khan on Monday launched the prime minister’s Backyard Poultry Initiative in the province under the National Agricultural Emergency programme.

A statement issued here said around 1,000,000 chickens would be distributed to eligible families at subsidised rates in the province during the next four years.

It said a unit comprising a rooster and five hens would be sold for Rs1,050 and 40,000 such units would be given away to families every year.

Addressing a ceremony, the chief minister said his government had focused its attention on the development of the downtrodden segments of the society and the chicken farming initiative would help economically develop farmers, especially women.

Families to get 1m subsidised chicken in four years

He said though Pakistan was an agricultural country with 43 per cent of labour force employed in the agriculture sector, KP had spent a paltry sum of Rs47 billion on the agriculture, livestock and poultry sector during the last seven decades.

Mr Mahmood said the government had planned to spend Rs85 billion on the development of the agriculture, livestock and poultry sectors from 2018 to 2023.

“We are working for the development of the agriculture sector and industrialisation simultaneously to earn revenue, create jobs, and alleviate poverty,” he said.

The chief minister said the PTI government was restructuring economy through reforms besides providing relief and assistance to the underprivilegedsegments of society.

He said the government was taken initiatives to promote industrialisation to generate revenue.

Mr Mahmood said industrialisation of the province would create massive employment opportunities.

Federal minister for food security and research Sahibzada Mohammad Mehboob Sultan, who was also in attendance, said the government had planned to distribute two million chickens to families for backyard farming in Punjab, one million in KP and Sindh each and 0.5 million in Balochistan and Azad Jammu and Kashmir each in the next four years.

He said the initiative was meant for the alleviation of poverty and eradication of stunted growth.

Senior leader of the ruling PTI Jehangir Khan Tareen, who also attended the ceremony, said though the government faced financial constraints, the prime minister had taken the initiative as he believed that true development couldn’t happen without the development of the downtrodden segments of society.

He said the programme would be extended to the newly-merged tribal districts of the province, including Kurram, Bajaur and Khyber, in the next phase.

Published in Dawn, October 15th, 2019

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