Fazal Amin Shinwari
ISLAMABAD: A grant of $7.7 million has been released by the Japanese government for the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) to implement its two projects including the enhancement of Foot and Mouth disease (FMD) control and the second phase of restoration of the livelihoods in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA).
The agreement was signed on Tuesday by Japanese Ambassador Takashi Kurai, and Ms. Minà Dowlatchahi, FAO Representative in Pakistan in the presence of H.E. Mr. Sikandar Hayat Khan Bosan, Federal Minister of National Food Security and Research.
The grant worth US$2.7 million and US$5 million was released for the enhancement of Foot and Mouth disease (FMD) control and the second phase of restoration of the livelihoods in Fata.
An agreement, outlining details of the implementation of the project, was signed between Chief Representative of Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) Yasuhiro Tojo and Dowlatchahi.
Foot and mouth is a highly contagious disease of cloven-footed animals that threatens food security and the livelihoods of smallholders and prevents the livestock sector from achieving its economic potential milk production may drop 50 to 70 percent mortality of young calves reaches 10 to 22 percent.
The project will significantly improve the FMD outbreaks surveillance and rapid response mechanism for disease control and reduce the incidence of FMD outbreaks in the country.
This will help curtail the losses caused by the disease and improve the productivity of livestock contributing to food security and improving the resilience of the livelihood of livestock farmers to animal disease threats.
In the second phase of the same project, the Government of Japan through FAO will provide support to about 32,000 households in the two targeted agencies of FATA, Kurram, and Khyber.
The project will help reduce poverty and promote economic opportunities in the region through agricultural development which will support stabilization and economic growth in the area.
This project is in line with the “FATA Sustainable Return and Rehabilitation Strategy”, launched by FATA Secretariat and implemented in collaboration with UN agencies and donor countries including Japan
Speaking on the occasion Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research Sikandar Hayat Khan Bosan said that government considers agriculture as a key area of focus to ensure food security for all segments of society.
A growing agriculture sector not only plays a vital role in boosting the national economy but also in reducing poverty and improving access to food. Improving nutrition diversification of agriculture by enhanced focus on high-value horticulture, livestock and fisheries is the main thrust of the new “Agriculture and Food Security Policy“, he added.
Takashi Kurai said that the agriculture sector is a vital component of Pakistan’s economy and its steady growth is a prerequisite for the overall development of the country these 2 projects will not only contribute to the improvement of the production of agricultural goods but also to the socioeconomic development in Pakistan.
Speaking on the occasion Yasuhiro Tojo said that the project would make a significant contribution toward the stabilization of the area and essentially focus on agribusiness and value chain development to boost commercial agriculture in FATA.
Furthermore, the project will be expected to facilitate women’s participation in various interventions, particularly in homestead poultry, kitchen gardening, and food and grain storage/preservation.
Thanking the government of Japan for its financial assistance, Minà Dowlatchahi said that these projects will cover important areas of interventions for the FATA Transition Plan. These interventions will contribute to the development of the agricultural sector in the FATA region by improving food security, boosting economic activities and markets, and as a result, helping achieve peace and security in the area.
The FMD project emphasizes the importance of animal health as part of the One Health agenda, which is crucial for addressing food insecurity, improving nutrition, and rural livelihoods that are dependent on livestock, she added.