February 27, 2018
Mr. Yasuhiro Tojo and Ms. Minà Dowlatchahi exchanging grant agreement at the ceremony
Islamabad, 27 February, 2018: The Government of Japan today announced funding the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) to implement 2 projects worth around 2.7 million USD and 5.0 million USD respectively for the enhancement of Foot and Mouth disease (FMD) control and the second phase of restoration of the livelihoods in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA).
Notes to this effect were signed and exchanged today between H.E. Mr. Takashi Kurai, Ambassador of Japan to Pakistan and Ms. Minà Dowlatchahi, FAO Representative in Pakistan in the presence of H.E. Mr. Sikandar Hayat Khan Bosan, Federal Minister of National Food Security and Research. A Grant Agreement on the details of implementation of the project was signed and exchanged between Mr. Yasuhiro Tojo, Chief Representative of Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and Ms. Dowlatchahi at the same ceremony.
FMD is a highly contagious disease of cloven footed animals that threatens food security and the livelihoods of smallholders and prevents livestock sector from achieving its economic potential. Milk production may drop 50 to 70 % and mortality of young calves reaches 10 to 22 %. If these losses are interpolated into livestock population, it results into hundreds of million dollars per annum. The project will significantly improve the FMD outbreaks surveillance and rapid response mechanism for disease control and reduce the incidence of FMD outbreaks in the country. This will help curtail the losses caused by the disease and improve productivity of livestock contributing to food security and improve resilience of livelihood of livestock farmers to animal disease threats.
FATA has been severely affected by unrest and military operations over the last decade. In 2015, Japan also funded 5 million USD for the first phase of the project, and FAO successfully supported approximately 77,000 households to resume agricultural production that helped improve food security and livelihoods. In the second phase of the same project, Government of Japan through FAO will provide support to about 32,000 households in the two targeted agencies of FATA, Kurram and Khyber. The project will help reduce poverty and promote economic opportunities in the region through agriculture development which will support stabilization and economic growth in the area. This project is in line with the "FATA Sustainable Return and Rehabilitation Strategy", launched by FATA Secretariat and implemented in collaboration with UN agencies and donor countries including Japan
Speaking on the occasion, H.E. Mr. Sikandar Hayat Khan Bosan said Government of Pakistan considers agriculture as a key area of focus to ensure food security for all segments of the society. A growing agriculture sector not only plays a vital role in boosting national economy but also reducing poverty and improving access to food. For improving nutrition diversification of agriculture by enhanced focus on high value horticulture, livestock and fisheries is main thrust of new "Agriculture and Food Security Policy".
H.E. Mr. Takashi Kurai said: "Agriculture sector is a vital component of Pakistan's economy and its steady growth is a prerequisite for the overall developments of the country. So I believe that these 2 projects will not only contribute to the improvement of production of agricultural goods but also to the socioeconomic development in Pakistan."
Mr. Yasuhiro Tojo said "the second phase of restoration of the livelihoods in FATA" would make a significant contribution toward stabilization of the area and essentially focus on agribusiness and value chain development to boost commercial agriculture in FATA. Furthermore, the project will be expected to facilitate women participation in various interventions, particularly in homestead poultry, kitchen gardening and food and grain storage/preservation.
Thanking the government of Japan for its financial assistance, Ms. Minà Dowlatchahi said "These projects will cover important areas of interventions for the FATA Transition Plan. These interventions will contribute to the development of the agricultural sector in FATA region by improving food security, boosting economic activities and markets and as a result help achieve peace and security in the area. The FMD project emphasizes the importance of animal health as part of the One Health agenda, which is crucial for addressing food insecurity, improving nutrition and rural livelihoods that are dependent on livestock."