ISLAMABAD: The Federal government is taking concrete steps for the promotion of the agriculture sector in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata).
Official sources told Radio Pakistan that four agriculture centres were being established in South and North Waziristan Agencies, Tank and Lakki Marwat districts at a cost of over Rs400 million by 2019.
Sources said the Arid Zone Research Institute in Dera Ismail Khan had been upgraded to Arid Zone Research Centre to further boost research based activities.
Farewell to arms
Economic development, employment and education have been repeatedly termed as keys to defeating extremist ideologies. In this regard authorities in Pakistan have been trying to promote agriculture in the militancy
The government and its donor agencies were since long devising a strategy to revive agriculture in the tribal belt for the displaced population who were expected to return to their native areas after success of the Zarb-e-Azb and Raddul Fasad operations.
Agriculture is the backbone of the economy and it is need of the hour to train students in agriculture by providing them modern and research based education so that they can compete internationally, according to Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Governor Engineer Iqbal Zafar Jhagra.
While the government was doing its part in eradicating militancy and promotion of agriculture, the donor agencies and development partners too were playing their due role.
The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations had devised a project to assist to recovery and development of agricultural economy in Fata.
The design and nature of the project focuses on the community, an official said adding it sought to empower people in targeted areas to continue to reap benefits well after the project ends.
The FAO was also concerned about the ban on fertilisers in the tribal areas . The ban had been imposed as it was widely believed fertilisers were used to manufacture improvised explosive devices (IEDs).
FAO project was meant to rebuild the lives of the displaced population and provide timely input on fodder, animal health, fruit tree nursery establishment, fisheries and developing irrigation systems.
The United States government, through the USAID, has also launched an initiative to uplift the agriculture sector and private businesses in Fata, helping the region’s move towards progress.
The initiative, called the FATA Economic Stabilisation Programme (FATA ESP), is implemented by Creative Associates International in collaboration with the Pakistan government.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 5th, 2017.