KANKER: The European Union is financing a project worth euro 40 million to combat rising food prices in Pakistan.
Food and Agriculture Organisation's (FAO) liaison and operation head in Pakistan, Mrs. Ariella F Glinni said on Monday, the project is also aimed at improving the food security for more than 1 million of the most vulnerable people in food-deficient areas of Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa, Punjab, Sindh and Balochistan.
Project is implemented by the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in association with the World Food Programme.
Mrs. Glinni said, "the assistance will play an important role towards enhancing agriculture productivity in the food deficient districts crucial for the sustainability of vulnerable rural households."
The project focuses on smallholder farmers who are receiving quality agriculture inputs and trained in improved agriculture technologies, thereby ensuring an increase in productivity and strengthening of local capacities.
The project's main activities are free distribution of agricultural inputs; improvement of irrigation channels and water harvesting systems; reduction of post harvest losses; and strengthening of local institutional capacity.
WFP is providing food for work assistance to approximately 83,000 households in the most food vulnerable areas, identified by FAO.
Project Manager Food Facility Dr. Faizul Bari was attributed to have said that "The EU Food Facility" was the European Union's euro 1 billion (113 billion rupees) response to the food crisis, showing Europe's firm commitment to help poor countries boost agricultural production, especially at a time that hunger is on the rise even more because of the global economic crisis.
He said the support will go a long way in improving the food security situation in Pakistan. Dr. Faizul Bari said, till date, agriculture inputs have been provided to 189,000 household while machinery have been procured for 100 farmer associations.
The contribution will be completed by the end of June 2010.
While255 irrigation channels and 200 water harvesting structures have been identified, surveyed and cost estimated and the construction work will start in June. Meanwhile, 7,635 farmers have been trained including 2,134 women in improved agriculture practices.