United States Helps Small Farm Businesses Increase Profits

General Islamabad

Islamabad: The U.S. government announced Wednesday that it will help 45,000 farmers in the fruit, vegetable, dairy, and livestock sectors increase their profits. Farmers will work with U.S.-funded non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to form over 3,000 small farmers’ groups and will receive specialized training to improve their products and sales.

Twelve Pakistani NGOs signed cooperative agreements with the U.S. Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Agribusiness Project in Islamabad to provide training to farmers.

Pakistan’s fruit, vegetable, dairy, and meat farmers have great potential, but many small agriculture-based businesses lack the tools to deliver the quality, variety, and quantity of goods that local and international markets demand.

Training and modernization supported by USAID will enable small farmers to deliver higher quality products and increase their profits. “These programs will increase incomes and create jobs for farmers, agricultural sector processors, and exporters,” said Alex Thier, Assistant to the USAID Administrator, at a meeting of NGOs working with USAID on this initiative.

The twelve Pakistani NGOs helping rural farm communities include the Aga Khan Rural Support Program, the National Rural Support Program, the Sarhad Rural Support Program, the Society for Human and Natural Resources Development (Lasoona), the Hashoo Foundation, the Punjab Rural Support Program, the Rural Community Development Society, the Jinnah Welfare Society, the Roshni Development Organization, the Sindh Agricultural

Forestry Workers Coordinating Organization, the Taraqee Foundation, and the World Wide Fund for Nature.

The Agribusiness Project is one of the many initiatives that the United States and Pakistan are carrying out together to create jobs and increase incomes. The United States and Pakistan are expanding irrigation by 200,000 acres to spur agricultural activity near the Gomal Zam and Satpara dams; constructing more than 1,000 km of roads to connect communities and

facilitate trade; modernizing dairy farms in Punjab; and launching investment funds that will provide capital to help small and medium businesses grow.