A four-year USAID-funded programme, called US-Pakistan partnership for Agricultural Market Development (AMD), was launched here on Thursday. The main objective of the AMD is to support the development of Pakistan’s commercial agriculture, particularly by improving the ability of the country’s agriculture and livestock sectors, for meeting international and domestic demand.
Under the programme, around $140 million will be spent over four years on conducting technical training sessions for improving farming techniques as well as to boost the access of meat, vegetables, mangoes and citrus to both the domestic and international markets. Speaking on the occasion, the USAID’s mission director John Groarke said that the US and Pakistan have a long history of co-operation in the filed of agriculture.
“The US remains strongly committed to creating economic growth and employment opportunities for the people of Pakistan, and considers the agricultural sector a critical priority”, he said and added:” We are confident that our investments in partnership with government of Pakistan will increase the linkages between Pakistani farmers and international markets to help promote a more prosperous, stable and food secure nation.”
Plant Protection Department’s director general, Dr Mubarik Ahmed, said that the programme will further boost the activities initiated by the government in agriculture sector as the Ministry of National Food Security and Research and farmers have been making serious efforts to export agriculture products to the international market. He said that Pakistan has exported 350,000 tons of citrus this year as against last year’s 225,000, whereas 55000 tons of mangos have been exported during current year as against previous year’s 92,000 tons.
Quoting World Bank’s report, Secretary of National Food Security & Research Seerat Asghar, said that one dollar earned through agriculture is more effective than the three dollars earned through other sectors. He said that since agriculture is backbone of the country, the government is required to expand this sector. He hoped the USAID-funded project will play an important role in making the agriculture products more credible for export.