Focus on agriculture and rural development: Plan devised for social uplift of Pak-Afghan border areas
By Ijaz Kakakhel
ISLAMABAD: To eliminate the militancy from bordering areas of Afghanistan and Pakistan, the Food and agriculture Organisation (FAO) with assistance of other donors agencies has planed a project namely ‘Priority Framework and Plan of Action’ (PFPA), which will focus on agriculture and rural sector recovery and development.
The plan would provide job opportunities, improve standard of living of people and help to promote economic development in the region.
Deputy Chairman Planning Commission, Sardar Aseff Ahmed Ali chaired the meeting regarding the project with Albert Lieberg, Team Leader FAO along with other members of the ministry attended the meeting.
Sardar Aseff Ahmed Ali informed the participants that area of FATA bordering Pakistan and Afghanistan is practically a war zone. Pakistan had mobilised all its resources in the war against extremism and the Pak-Army was fighting for the whole world’s peace. War could be won by engaging all the people at all the levels of rehabilitation and resettlement of the affected people. “We are doing our best to win the hearts of the people, if our friends in international community want to help us they should understand these realities,” he maintained. Appreciating the project, he said since Pakistan was an agriculture economy; such projects could help a lot in improvement of the agriculture sector and ultimately in poverty alleviation. The programme was aimed to provide access to primary health and education to the section of society deprived of basic social services. The programme would work in collaboration with the Rural Support Programme.
Since agriculture was based on the water resources, efforts should be made for water resource development and for efficient water utilisation. While making such projects FATA and WAPDA must be taken on board, as incumbent government had already started many projects for water resources development, said the Deputy Chairman. He also suggested including the areas of North Balochistan into the said programme.
Albert Lieberg Team Leader FAO, made a complete presentation on the project and said the G-8 countries wanted development of agriculture in rural borders areas of Afghanistan and Pakistan. He informed the participants that detail meeting was held with Afghanistan and Pakistani officials. In Afghanistan the project would cover Kunar, Nangharhar, Paktiya, Khost Paktiya and in Pakistan Federally Administered Tribal Areas.
The project consists of intuitional capacity building needs assessment, specific training and skill development programmes, development of monitoring and evaluation framework system.