ISLAMABAD – The Government of Japan has agreed to fund the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) to implement a project worth about 5 million USD (approximately 507 million PKR) for the recovery and development of the agricultural sector in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) of Pakistan.
The agreement was signed in Islamabad by H. E. Mr. Hiroshi Inomata, Ambassador of Japan to Pakistan and Mr. Patrick T. Evans, FAO Representative in Pakistan.
A Grant Agreement on the details of implementation of the project was also signed on the occasion between Mr. Mitsuyoshi Kawasaki, Chief Representative of Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and Mr. Evans.
Mr. Sikandar Hayat Khan Bosan, Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research, who was also present on the occasion said that the Government of Pakistan and its departments in FATA will be working closely with the FAO and JICA to reach out to the beneficiary communities for stable and food secure households in FATA.
“Stability of FATA is essential for the stability of the entire Pakistan” H.E Mr. Hiroshi Inomata pointed out. The project, he said, aims to enhance people’s livelihoods by restoring agriculture, which is the mainstay of the economy in FATA, and thereby contribute to the stability of the region. He added that he hopes this project will also promote sustainable return of displaced persons.
“Agriculture and its sub-sectors are the primary means of livelihood for the majority of people in the FATA region. Rebuilding agriculture production is critical as people return to ensure food security and to rebuild local economies” said Mr. Patrick T. Evans speaking on the occasion
Mr. Evans expressed gratitude to the Government of Japan and to JICA for the support being provided and stated that he looked forward to working with them and the FATA Secretariat to support the sustainable returns and development in FATA.
Mr. Mitsuyoshi Kawasaki, Chief Representative of JICA, said that stabilization and development of Pakistan–Afghanistan border areas is one of the priorities of Japan/JICA’s cooperation for Pakistan and he sincerely hoped that this project will contribute to restoration and improvement of agriculture and livestock based livelihoods of returning families in Kurram and Khyber agencies. He also said that this project is expected to have synergy with JICA’s ongoing technical cooperation in agricultural extension service in the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
FATA has been severely affected by unrest and military operations over the last decade. Early this year there were some 260,000 families displaced from their homes in FATA. The FATA Secretariat prepared a “Sustainable Return and Rehabilitation Strategy” early this year and from March has been supporting the return of displaced families.
Currently around 218,000 families are awaiting the opportunity to return home which is expected to be realized for all by the end of 2016.
The purpose of the new project is to make a significant contribution to stabilization of the area, reduce poverty and economic inequalities in two of the agencies (Khyber and Kurram) through:
- Restoration/improvement of agriculture production (including crops, livestock, poultry and fisheries),
- Restoration/rehabilitation of related productive assets (such as reclamation of land and rehabilitation of water resource), and
- Strengthening the institutional capacity of government and private agriculture service providers and improving skills of the beneficiaries.
The new project is in line with the “FATA Sustainable Return and Rehabilitation Strategy”, launched by FATA Secretariat and is designed to directly benefit approximately 26,000 returned families (195,000 individuals) in Khyber and Kurram agencies.