August 6, 2019: The Government of Japan yesterday announced grant aid worth around 560 million Japanese Yen (approximately USD 5 million) to United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) to support Agri-Food and Agro-Industry Development in Pakistan province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan, in the Ministry of National Food Security & Research.
The event was witnessed by the honourable Minister, Ministry of National Food Security and Research Sahibzada Muhammad Mehboob Sultan and Federal Secretary Dr. Hashim Popalzai. Notes to this effect were signed and exchanged between H.E. Mr. Kuninori Matsuda, Ambassador of Japan to Pakistan and Ms. Nadia Aftab, Country Representative, UNIDO.
A Grant Agreement on the details of implementation of the project was signed and exchanged between Mr. Shigeki Furuta, Chief Representative of Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and Ms. Nadia Aftab.
The grant amount of Japanese Yen 560 million will be utilized by UNIDO to pilot the enhancement of productive and compliance capacities of relevant actors in the cattle meat value chain within selected production areas / districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (Peshawar, Abbottabad, Kohistan and D.I. Khan) and apple value chain in Balochistan (Killa Saifullah, Killa Abdullah, Pishin and Quetta).
The project will simultaneously support the relevant governmental bodies to offer adequate services to the industry at a sustainably manner and ensure the sustainability and the possibility to upscale best practices. As an expected result of this project it will revitalize the livelihood of value chain actors, covering their daily income from the apple and cattle value chains and to improve practices of food manufacturers and processors along with the related enabling environment across two provinces of Pakistan.
Speaking on the occasion, H.E. Mr. Sahibzada Muhammad Mehboob Sultan said that this project is a productive addition to our efforts towards revival of agriculture sector; our main emphasis through new “Nation Food Security Policy” is on improving nutrition diversification of agriculture through an enhanced focus on high value horticulture & livestock.
The Federal Minister added that this project of Agri-Food and Agro-Industry Development Assistance in Pakistan will cover important areas of interventions which will contribute to the development of the agriculture sector in KPK and Balochistan.
Federal Secretary, Hashim Popalzai on the occasion said that the project will enhance the productive and compliance capacities of the relevant actors in the cattle meat and apple value chains across the two provinces.
H.E Mr. Kuninori Matsuda said, Japan is aware that agriculture is lifeline of Pakistan and Prime Minister Imran khan’s agriculture emergency program focuses on three basic aspects, economic development, employment expansion and alleviation of poverty and enhanced growth, our support is not limited and our main focus is Pakistan agriculture developing into a very strong export industry.
The Japanese ambassador also said that mango from Pakistan is very famous in Japan and it has started importing from Pakistan, although initially the volume is not very huge (150ton) but it is likely to expand soon. Japan will support Pakistan in developing these areas through and JICA and UNIDO played a very important in launching this project.
Mr. Shigeki Furuta said “Diversification of farmers’ income and creation of assets through development of high-value livestock, and fruit tree crops are the strategy of JICA Agriculture Program. Through this Project on Agri-Food & Agro-Industry Development Assistance in Pakistan, we hope UNIDO and partner provincial agriculture departments in Khyber Pakhtunkhaw and Balochistan will be able to develop and strengthen the capacity of producers and processors engaged in cattle meat value chain and apple value chain industries in both provinces.”
Thanking the government of Japan for its financial assistance, Ms. Nadia Aftab said, Government of Japan is an important strategic partner and the largest contributor to our organization. Currently, there is a lot of work being done to promote the UNIDO-GoJ partnership.
UNIDO has long standing collaboration in providing technical assistance to Government of Pakistan and this unique initiative would also mark the first direct collaboration between UNIDO and JICA for the betterment of selected communities in KPK and Balochistan while working very closely with the federal Ministry of food and provincial agriculture departments.
In the End Federal Minister reiterated that the Federal Ministry will provide support to both provincial governments in fulfilling the objectives of this endeavor. The government of Pakistan appreciates Japan’s role as Pakistan’s key development partner over the years in areas of agriculture, food security and food safety.