USDA facilitators to train Pakistani youth in agriculture

ISLAMABAD (NNI): The US-funded workshop on youth engagement in agriculture kicked off on Tuesday in Islamabad. Three facilitators from the USDA are conducting the three-day workshop this week to support The Pakistan Water Dialogue and Soil Health and Fertility projects. This workshop uses the Positive Youth Engagement model from USDA’s 4-H program, which has been active in the United States since the late 1800s. The workshop will train participants from Punjab, Sindh, KPK, and Baluchistan to identify ways to engage emerging young leaders in Pakistan’s agricultural sector. The workshop seeks to build upon USDA’s seven-year engagement promoting the demonstration, diffusion, and adoption of best management practices and technologies in watershed rehabilitation and irrigation and soil health and fertility. Seventy-five senior officials, technical experts from the federal and provincial ministries, universities, and NGOs are attending the event organized by USAID, USDA, World Learning, and the ICARDA.

The USDA facilitators leading the workshop are Dr Lisa Lauxman, the Division Director for Youth and 4-H at USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture; Hilary Landfried, a program manager with USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service; and Benjamin August, a program coordinator with USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service.

USDA, with support from USAID, began working in partnership with ICARDA from 2011 to 2016 on Watershed Rehabilitation and Irrigation Improvement in Pakistan: Demonstrating and Disseminating the Best Practices and Technologies to Help Rural Farmers.

The project established over 40 demonstration sites, published 150,000 brochures, held 240 farmers field days, and reached 14,000 farmers. USDA and ICARDA partnered on Improving Soil Fertility and Soil Health in Pakistan through Demonstration and Dissemination of Best Management Practices for Farmers from 2013 to 2016. This program held 125 farmer field days, training over 11,400 farmers on soil-conservation techniques.

Due to these efforts, more than 1,500 farmers have already adopted one or more of the promoted technologies. USDA also partnered with the International Water Management Institute (IWMI) from 2013 to 2015. This program brought together key stakeholders and USDA technical experts to develop the Pakistan Water Dialogue Consensus Action Plan. USDA and ICARDA are currently collaborating on the Water Dialogue Phase II and the Soil Health and Fertility Phase II programs.

Readymade garments worth $1.48 billion exported in 7 months

ISLAMABAD (NNI): Readymade garments worth $1.483 billion were exported from the country during first seven months of current financial year as compared to exports of the corresponding period of last year. During the period from July-January, 2017-18, exports of readymade garments grew by 13.93 percent as compared to same period of last year, according the data of Pakistan Bureau of Statistics. About 22,160 thousand dozens readymade garments worth $1.483 billion were exported during the period under review as compared to exports of 19,623 thousand dozen valuing $1.301 billion of same period of last year. Meanwhile, about 62,528 thousand dozens of knitwear worth $1.555 billion were exported in last seven months, which were recorded at 60,550 thousand dozens valuing $1.373 billion of same period of last year. During the period under review, about 215,202 metric tons of bed wear worth $1.305 million were exported as compared to exports of 206,905 metric tons valuing $1.236 billion of same period of last year.

Country earned $454.537 million by exporting 113,049 metric tons of towels as compared to exports of $449.998 million and 107,678 metric tons of same period last year, it added.

It may be recalled here that textile group exports surged by 7.728 percent and were recorded at $7.728 billion in last seven months as compared to exports of $7.210 billion of same period of last year.

Jalalpur Irrigation project to help in

enhancing agri yield

LAHORE (APP): The Punjab government has planned Jalalpur Irrigation project, a new non-perennial irrigation system for enhancing the agricultural produce in Pindadan Khan and Khaushab areas. Irrigation department sources said that the concept of providing irrigation supplies to this area is not new and has been in consideration since 1930. The proposed canal will off-take from the left bank of Rasul Barrage. Proposed Jalalpur project would enhance agricultural production by providing irrigation supplies to 170,000 acres of land. The proposed canal is 115km long with designed discharge of 1350 cusecs and it will underpass the Lahore-Islamabad Motorway and a culvert has already been provided for that. The canal will have a distribution system of 23 distributary channels, 10 minor canals and more than 780 hydraulic structures of various kinds. The project would benefit over 225,000 rural people spread over 80 villages in the project area and it was worthwhile to mention here that most of the beneficiaries were small farmers, sources added.

The project also includes a number of water supply schemes to provide drinking water to various settlements in the area.

RCCI hosts dinner for foreign dignitaries

RAWALPINDI (APP): The Rawalpindi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (RCCI) President Zahid Latif Khan hosted a dinner in honour of the ambassadors, high commissioners, and commercial counselors here on Tuesday. More than 60 ambassadors of various countries including Germany, Afghanistan, Iran, Belarus, Poland, Argentine, Brazil, Spain, Somalia, and high commissioner of Srilanka, Bangladesh, deputy head of foreign missions and commercial counselors attended the dinner. Addressing the ceremony, RCCI President Zahid Latif Khan thanked the dignitaries and traders for an overwhelming gathering. The president highlighted the key initiatives taken by RCCI to promote trade in the region and improve networking amongst the trading community. An update on RCCI’s past, current and upcoming events was also given to the participants. He also highlighted the chamber’s performance and efforts to enhance Pakistan’s exports and strengthen the national economy, including arranging business conferences in the UK and Qatar.

While referring to the empowerment of women, RCCI chief said: “We recently successfully organised the All Pakistan Women Chamber Presidents’ Conference where more than 17 presidents of Women Chambers from all over Pakistan attended the two days’ summit. The main purpose of this initiative was to provide women a platform to excel in the field of entrepreneurship, improve networking and consultation.”

Group leader and former president Sohail Altaf in his address said RCCI has been playing an active role to act as a bridge between the business community and the concerned quarters.

He also urged diplomats to portray a positive image of Pakistan in their respective countries.

Sohail Altaf, while referring to the recent event in Paris concerning the Financial Action and Task Force (FATF) and its latest action, expressed hope that diplomats will play their due role in averting any negative action under FATF against Pakistan.

“Pakistan, a country with 200 million population offers promising business opportunities for foreign investors and using this platform, we urged the government to increase more benefits and incentives to enable Foreign Direct Investment. CPEC now has become a reality on the ground, and we would like your countries to play an active part in this mega project through joint ventures”, he added. He said the business community suffered a lot post 9/11 and our economy faced a big blow due to terrorist activities in the country. With a collective approach, the government succeeded in narrowing terror incidents and now the world has acknowledged that Pakistan has improved its internal security situation, he added.