ISLAMABAD: The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations, with support from the US Agency for International Development, has started distributing Kharif crop packages to 16,000 vulnerable households to strengthen agriculture-based livelihoods in the tribal districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
The packages consist of 25kg of certified maize seeds, 1.5kg of sunflower seeds, 5kg of red beans and 10kg of French beans for each household. The distribution is being conducted in collaboration with the Department of Agriculture and District Administration and in strict compliance with Covid-19 prevention protocols.
Under a similar intervention, the United States Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs is supporting distribution of Kharif crop packages among 2,000 people to help these communities resume agricultural production.
Each household will get 25kg of maize seeds, 1.5kg of sunflower seeds, 5kg of red beans and 10kg of French beans
With the Covid-19 pandemic adversely affecting the farming community, FAO is stepping up efforts to protect livelihoods of food producers and all food chain workers by providing quality agri-input packages to beneficiaries so that the season-bound agriculture activities are not disrupted. Through its interventions in KP’s newly merged districts, FAO has introduced high value crops and agriculture value chains to create sustainable livelihoods for the farmers.
“This intervention has been timely in providing support to smallholder farmers in these vulnerable areas, helping build sustainable food system and ensuring food security to mitigate the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on agriculture. Providing farmers with a mix of high quality certified seeds such as maize, sunflower and beans for the Kharif season crop will also contribute to ensuring some dietary diversification as well as supply to keep markets and food supply chains going,” said FAO representative in Pakistan Mina Dowlatchahi.
Amid the Covid-19 outbreak, FAO projects are playing a vital role in ensuring food security, reducing poverty and bringing economic stabilisation in the newly merged districts of KP. In addition to distribution of various agriculture packages to vulnerable smallholder farmers, FAO through its farmer field schools and field training activities is also arranging regular sessions for local farmer communities to raise awareness about safety and hygiene measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
Published in Dawn, July 14th, 2020