Islamabad: IFAD told that its new agriculture strategy would be climate smart and value chain.
Federal Minister for National Food Security & Research Sahibzada Muhammad Mehboob Sultan met with the Delegation of International Funds for Agriculture Development (IFAD) led by Mr. Donal Brown, Associate Vice President of IFAD and Nigel Brett, country director Asia Pacific region in his office today.
IFAD is a financial institution/ specialized agency of UN for eradicating poverty & hunger in rural areas of developing countries. Vice President Mr. Donal Brown is responsible for managing and developing the operations that IFAD supports through its loans and grants. He also worked for the Department for International Development (DFID). IFAD has supported 27 programs and projects in Pakistan for total amount of $664.5 million which directly benefitted 2.8 million households.
Pakistan is amongst the world’s top producers of wheat, cotton, sugarcane, mango, dates, rice & oranges. The rural population of Pakistan is 60% of the total population. Rural farmers face many problems including small landholdings, market access, credit access, inputs & support services, policy & institutional constraints. The country’s rising demand for food due to increasing population. There is high stress on Pakistan’s fresh waters of which 90% is used for agriculture.
Federal Minister Mehboob Sultan said that our government aims to bring revolutionary change in agriculture sector through PM’s Agriculture Emergency Program especially in the rural areas. He further said that the Government of Pakistan appreciates IFAD’s initiatives for Sustainable rural development & wants to maintain this cooperation till achievement of objectives.
Mehboob Sultan said that under Prime Minister’s Vision, we have initiated various schemes for achieving agricultural self-sufficiency. The collaboration of IFAD in this regard will be encouraging.
Most of the Pakistan’s population lives in rural areas and have a direct or in-direct connection with agriculture for that we are empowering our small famers and women as well so that they can support & contribute in national development. Women have a dynamic and independent role in our government’s agricultural projects said the Federal Minister Mehboob Sultan.
IFAD’s current portfolio consists of 4 projects at a total cost of USD 380.390 million which include: Southern Punjab Poverty Alleviation project, Gwadar – Lasbella livelihood support project, economic transformation initiative in Gilgit Baltistan and National Poverty Graduation Program (NPGP)
IFAD started its operations in Pakistan in 1978 focusing on combating rural poverty. Its country program is aligned with government’s development & policy agenda. The ongoing & pipeline projects are facilitating & promoting skills development (training), enterprise, value chain development, access to credit and other financial services.
Moreover the challenges posed by climate, nutrition, water scarcity are also taken into account. Country Director Nigel Brett told that IFAD’s new country strategy program (2022-27) will focus on climate smart agriculture and adding private sector to value chain along with active inclusion of women folk.
Pakistan contributes to financial resources of IFAD. Ministry of National Food Security & Research has supported the proposal for opening IFAD’s country office in Pakistan.
Federal Minister asked the Associate Vice President IFAD that it may review its policy of shifting Pakistan from highly concessional loans to blend loans and Mr. Brown told that the request will be forwarded to governing body for further comments. The Federal Minister was also invited to attend the IFAD’s next governing body meeting.