New Hope for Pakistani farmers

At least 25,000 poor rural households in Pakistan are expected to benefit from $18.3 million in funding from the U.N. International Fund for Agricultural Development that will help them maximize crop yields. The funds will go towards the Crop Maximization Support Project, an initiative begun in response to the surge in food prices last year. It aims to increase crop production in 10 districts in the provinces of Balochistan, Punjab, Sindh and the North-West Frontier Province (NWFP).

Almost two thirds of the population, and 80 per cent of Pakistan's poor people, live in rural areas and agriculture is a mainstay of the economy, but the sector needs help to boost yields, according to the Rome-based IFAD, which signed the loan agreement with the Government.

The Crop Project also promotes gender and poverty mainstreaming in Pakistan's national crop productivity project, by supporting the formation of special interest groups of women and the landless, promote their involvement in community development, and enhance their access to financial resources.

To date, IFAD has funded 23 projects and programmes in Pakistan for a total investment of about $460 million. Reported by APP

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