BARA: The Deputy Commissioner of Khyber District Mahmood Aslam Wazir, along with USAID/Pakistan Director Julie Koenen, today inaugurated the Fruit and Livestock Market in Bara Tehsil of District Khyber, a merged district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

The market was constructed as a partnership venture between the Government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and the U.S. Government with funding through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and will act as a hub for agriculture and livestock-based businesses in Bara.

This is the first of 13 such markets being constructed with support from USAID in the Merged Districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Specifically in District Khyber, the project has successfully completed three market structures including one livestock market, one fruit and vegetable packing shed and one fruit and vegetable auction shed. The vegetable and fruit enterprise establishment will not only support value chain development and improved agriculture practices in the merged districts for year round production, but will also provide a viable environment for vegetable and livestock management creating market linkages for farmers amid COVID-19.

“The returning farmers in the Merged Districts face a number of challenges, and one of them is not having proper markets in their areas,” said Mrs. Koenen. “These structures will ensure year-round marketing of fruits, vegetables, and livestock, improve packaging, and provide a business-friendly environment to farmers.”

The construction of the markets is part of a joint initiative of more than $10 million in recovery and rehabilitation funding to improve livelihoods and recover market systems for the returning Temporary Displaced Populations in the Merged Districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

USAID is partnering with the Food and Agriculture Organization and the Government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in Khyber, Orakzai, North Waziristan, and South Waziristan districts to develop the agriculture sector.

To date, this partnership has helped local entrepreneurs establish more than 700 fruit and vegetable enterprises; brought around 1,000 acres of unused agricultural land into cultivation; and restored water supply to grow crops on over 3,000 acres of land.

Deputy Commissioner Khyber district, Mr. Mahmood Aslam appreciated the efforts of FAO and USAID stating that there is more scope for supporting agriculture in the remote areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. He assured government’s support and cooperation for the developmental work in the merged districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Member of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly from Bara Muhammad Shahfiq Afridi was also present along with local elders and staff of FAO and local administration in the inaugural ceremony.