ISLAMABAD: The Japanese government has agreed to provide the Food and Agriculture Organisation with roughly $5 million (Rs507 million) for the recovery and development of agriculture in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata).
An agreement on this was penned by Japanese Ambassador Hiroshi Inomata and FAO Representative in Pakistan Patrick Evans, according to a press release. A grant agreement on the implementation of the project was signed by Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) Chief Representative Mitsuyoshi Kawasaki and Evans immediately afterwards.
National Food Security and Research Minister Sikandar Hayat Khan Bosan, who was also present, said the Government of Pakistan and its departments in Fata will be working closely with the FAO and JICA to ensure they reach local communities and help ensure food security in the tribal belt.
The project is in line with the FATA Secretariat’s sustainable return and rehabilitation strategy and aims to help stabilise the area and address poverty in Khyber and Kurram agencies by restoring and improving agriculture yields, supporting land reclamation and water resource rehabilitation, capacity building and skills training. The project would benefit some 195,000 returning IDPs in Khyber and Kurram agencies.
Ambassador Inomata pointed out that the stability of FATA is essential for the stability of Pakistan. He said that the project aims to enhance people’s livelihoods by restoring agriculture, which is the mainstay of the region’s economy. He added that he hopes the project will also promote sustainable return of displaced persons.
Kawasaki said that stabilisation and development of the Af-Pak border areas is one of the priorities of Japan and JICA’s cooperation with Pakistan and he sincerely hoped that this project will contribute to restoration and improvement of the agriculture and livestock-based livelihoods of displaced families returning to Kurram and Khyber agencies. He also said that this project is expected to have synergy with JICA’s ongoing technical cooperation in agricultural in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.
Evans, said, “Rebuilding agriculture production is critical as people return to ensure food security and rebuild local economies.”
Evans expressed gratitude to the Government of Japan and JICA for their support and stated that he looked forward to working with them and the FATA Secretariat in supporting sustainable returns and development in Fata.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 3rd, 2015.