PESHAWAR: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) under its USAID-funded project “Restoring Subsistence and Commercial Agriculture in Merged Districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa”, has been promoting five value chains through the establishment of improved market structures and strengthened services in the merged districts of Khyber, North, and South Waziristan.

The project did monitor increase in production and income for 2019 to 2020. In South Waziristan, sales value of growers increased by 95% for tomato, 68% for potato, and 13% for apple, says a press release.

Creation of 13 market structures, a key milestone, was achieved successfully, which will provide place for market intermediaries to interact without risks of heat, rain and protection for their goods. The intervention encourages buying and selling in the said markets for local producers and traders, and further stimulates economic activities in the area. FAO, in this regard has renovated livestock and horticultural markets, and installed packing and collection sheds, and auction floors for fruits and vegetables.

Besides this, 105 producer groups were formed with 3,286 beneficiaries along the target value chains of apple, pine nuts, tomato, potato and livestock. For improving farm practices, entrepreneurship, business management and marketing skills of 363 farmers and 36 agro-dealers were enhanced through 14-market development workshops. Similarly, 72 Farm Services Centre (FSC) staff and their Management Committee members were capacitated in the marketing and business planning skills to provide relevant services to their members. While the local producers and other chain actors were trained in diverse skills related to the introduction of improved production technologies and postharvest handling of the target commodities.

“Working on value chains development and strengthening forward and backward linkages among the target chain actors will gradually evolve into a robust local service delivery system and viable commercial markets improving local economic growth, and increasing incomes and job opportunities at the local level”, said Waleed Mahdi, International Program Coordinator, FAO KP.

FAO’s target beneficiaries also participated in the Horticulture Expos of 2019 and 2020 in Lahore involving progressive farmers, agro-dealers, commission agents and Agriculture Extension staff to link them with market intermediaries and local service providers for effective marketing of wholesale, retail, export, and processing.

“The project provided enormous openings to the value chain actors. Look at the market dynamics and relationships between the different actors in the chain with the objective of strengthening the entire market system – enterprises, business relationships, financial networks, supporting functions, rules and norms, and the overall business environment within the context of merged districts and KP.” said, Miss. Ruqia Khattak, Value Chain Development Specialist-FAO KP.

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