Islamabad         -          The Government of Japan announced grant aid worth around 560 million Japanese Yen to the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) to support Agri-Food and Agro-Industry Development in Pakistan’s Province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and Balochistan.

Notes to this effect were signed and exchanged between of Ambassador Japan to Pakistan Mr. Kuninori Matsuda, and Ms. Country Representative of UNIDO Nadia Aftab. A Grant Agreement on the details of implementation of the project was signed and exchanged between Shigeki Furuta, Chief Representative of Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and Nadia Aftab in the presence of Federal Minister for Ministry of National Food Security and Research Sahibzada Muhammad Mehboob Sultan.

The grant amount of Japanese Yen 560 million will be utilised by UNIDO to pilot  the enhancement of productive and compliance capacities of relevant actors in the cattle meat value chain within selected production areas of KP (Peshawar, Abbottabad, Kohistan and D.I. Khan) and apple value chain in Balochistan (Qilla Saifullah, Qilla 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.

This project will revitalise 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, Sahibzada Muhammad Mehboob Sultan said “Agriculture is a priority area for the Government of Pakistan in order 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 helps in reducing poverty and improving access to quality and safe food. The main emphasis of the new ‘National Food Security Policy’ is on improving nutrition diversification of agriculture through an enhanced focus on high value horticulture and livestock”.

Kuninori Matsuda said “Japan has decided to support this project because almost 60pc of people work for Agri-Industry in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan. We expect this project will reduce food losses, improve supply chain management, and will add more value to products, which will lead to more income generation. We believe this achievement will contribute to socio-economic stability of targeted provinces. Agriculture sector of Pakistan will remain one of the priority areas for Japan to support.”

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 KP 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.”

Nadia Aftab said, Government of Japan is an important strategic partner and the largest contributor to our organisation.

Currently, there is a lot of work being done to promote the UNIDO-GoJ partnership. UNIDO has long standing and collaboration while 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 KP and Balochistan while working very closely with the Federal Ministry of National Food Security and Research and provincial agriculture departments.