PESHAWAR: Termed the key to ending poverty in the country by Prime Minister Imran Khan, the premier’s Backyard Poultry Programme was formally inaugurated in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) on Monday.
K-P Chief Minister Mahmood Khan launched the initiative as part of the National Agricultural Emergency programme by distributing chicken ‘units’ — each comprising of 5 females and one male.
Mahmood stated that the government is focusing on uplifting the downtrodden segment of the society, adding that the initiative will help in the economic uplift of farmers especially women.
He added that despite being predominantly an agricultural country with 43 per cent of the national labour force employed in the sector, only Rs47 billion were spent on the Agriculture, Livestock and Poultry sector in K-P over the past 70 years.
Mahmood went on to state that the incumbent government plans to spend as much as Rs85 billion over its five-year tenure to bring about reforms, uplift and develop the sector.
“We are simultaneously working for the development of agriculture sector and industrialization in the province through which the provincial government intends to generate revenue, provide employment and eradicate poverty,” Mahmood.
The chief minister also took the opportunity to criticise the role of opposition parties during their respective tenure government, stating that corruption and promotion of selfish interests were their only motive and vision which has left the national economy devastated and every child of the country in crushing debt.
“We are restructuring the economy which is not only limited to reforms at the national level but is also focussing on providing relief and assistance to the underprivileged segments of the society,” he said.
Mahmood stated the provincial government has recently initiated the provision of electricity to industrial consumers of the province which will not only help in promoting industrialization but also contribute tremendously in generating revenue for the provincial exchequer. Moreover, he stated that the industrialization in the province will help create massive employment opportunities for its youth.
Under the National Agricultural Emergency programme, he said that they will distribute a million poultry birds in the form of units to the interested eligible families on subsidized rates over the next four years.
Eligible families will be identified through a set procedure and will be informed through advertisements in print media.
Each applicant will be required to pay Rs1,050 for each poultry unit and the project will be implemented through the next four years. Each year, approximately 40,000 units will be distributed amongst deserving families.
Federal Minister for Food Security and Research Mehboob Sultan stated that apart from the million poultry birds to be provided in K-P, 2 million poultry birds are scheduled to be distributed in Punjab, another million in Sindh, 0.5 million in Balochistan and a further 0.5 million in Azad Jammu and Kashmir over the next four years which will help in poverty alleviation in these areas apart from combating stunted growth.
Ruling Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf’s (PTI) Central Leader Jehangir Tareen — whose picture was prominently featured in posters about the programme and put up across the provincial capital — stated that despite financial constraints, this initiative was taken to develop and uplift the downtrodden segments of society.
In the next phase of the programme, he said, it will be extended to the erstwhile federally administered tribal areas (Fata) including Kurram, Bajur, and Khyber.
The ceremony was also attended by Adviser to Prime Minister on Establishment Arbab Shehzad, K-P Minister for agriculture and Livestock Mohibullah Khan, Special Assistant to CM on IT Kamran Bangash, Additional Chief Secretary and other concerned officials.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 15th, 2019.