ISLAMABAD: Agriculture training centres are being set up in four districts of the merged areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to provide training in cultivating alternative crops, which will open new avenues of income generation leading to the end of poppy-related businesses and crimes in the province.

This was announced at a ground-breaking ceremony org­anised on Thursday by the KP Planning and Development Department in collaboration with the US Embassy’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The four training centres will be constructed in Bajaur, Khyber, Mohmand and Torghar districts.

At present there is a tendency among people living in these districts to cultivate poppy crop that causes detrimental socio-economic impact and the product is illicitly traded, especially in tribal areas adjoining Afghanistan, the UNDP said in a press release.

The training centres will promote agriculture cultivation by developing farmers’ skills and creating relationships between farmers and enterprises. Agricultural information on timely land preparation, planting, weeding, irrigation, harvesting, storage and marketing has always been farmers’ central concerns.

These training centres, equipped with modern technologies, would improve the way farmers in these areas receive, exchange and harness information.

INL Director Mark Tervakoski said the project would boost agricultural knowledge and technologies and increase economic opportunities for the people of KP.

Published in Dawn, January 21st, 2022

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