Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Provides Agricultural Assistance to Tribal Areas

Islamabad: Mr Patrick T. Evans Country Head of Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of United States in Pakistan said that the with the funding of U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) nearly 21,000 returnee families in Khyber and South Waziristan Agencies and has been accommodated to grow wheat, vegetables, and fodder on their land again using quality seed provided by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).

Mr Patrick T. Evans told that with such sustainable agriculture development initiatives, FAO is continually working to reduce poverty and economic inequalities, and with this support the neediest returnee families of the tribal belt will earn handsome income, as well as feed for their animals.

Country Head of FSO revealed that with funding from the USAID 16,650 families will harvest approximately 800kg-1,000kg of wheat each from the seed we’ve provided. These wheat growers also received vegetable seeds to produce food in the meantime. Additionally, 4,000 cattle growers received oat seed and are already harvesting green multi-cut fodder for their animals.

Recent instability and military operations, as well as natural disasters across FATA have not only damaged the local infrastructure, but caused a massive exodus of the population from the area. Since March 2015, the Government of Pakistan has been working with various stakeholders to facilitate the return of the displaced population to their homes. This effort requires extensive support from the Government and the donor community in order to ensure that the returning families have sufficient means to revive agricultural activities on their land, feed themselves and their livestock, and earn income.

To support this effort, FAO has partnered with USAID and the FATA Secretariat to implement the Revitalization of Essential Agricultural Production to Ensure Household Food Security and Livelihoods in FATA project funded by USAID.  This 16-month, US$ 8.3 million project (September 2015-December 2016) will deliver assistance to approximately 55,000 households (approx. 400,000 individuals) in FATA. “Vast majority of the FATA residents rely on agriculture for their livelihoods. In cooperation with USAID, we are helping temporarily displaced persons to start farming on their lands again,” said Evans.

So far, work focused on Khyber and South Waziristan, but starting this year, the project will also work in North Waziristan Agency of FATA. Activities include distribution of quality seed for Rabi and Kharif seasons, rehabilitation of water courses and fruit orchards, establishment of fruit nurseries, land reclamation, animal vaccination, and supplemental feeding for animals. Thousands of farmers, line department staff and agricultural service providers will receive agricultural training.

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