Islamabad (PR) - he Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA), official donor agency of the Republic of Korea, set a plan to fund $5 million programme for model village development and alleviating poverty through Saemaul Undong (New Village Movement - Korea’s most innovative and practical rural development model) in Potohar region of Pakistan.  The project would use New Village Movement strategy to restructure rural development plans, build capacity of farmers not only by improving the physical infrastructure but also to change the mindset of the people, says a press release issued here on Friday.

It will focus empowering rural communities and provide technical guidance to create alternate income generation activities for poverty alleviation in rain-fed areas of Potohar. It will further expand opportunities for farmers and enterprises to increase productivity and access to domestic and export markets.

Farmers currently lack skills as well as options to bring their products to market, reducing their income and overall economic development in Pakistan. This project will expand opportunities for farmers by introducing modern and indigenous technologies, methods and commercial practices that add value to agricultural products.  It will also focus on farmers, women and youth to change their mind set and bring a spiritual change for playing an active role for development of their villages and enable them to create jobs and contribute to economic prosperity,” said Sung Choon-ki Director General KOICA Pakistan.

Agriculture accounts for 21% of GDP’ employing 45% of in Pakistan, so it plays a major role in economic growth and poverty reduction. Through a set of complementary measures, including capacity building, improving village environment, access market for small farmers, and the project will increase the commercialization of farm and agribusiness products.  Also, more medium-scale agribusinesses and producer associations in the model villages will be able to market their products locally and internationally. It will also build the government’s capacity for policy and regulatory reforms and support market research and analysis, and modernize the curricula of educational institutions for commercial agribusiness. Since the establishment of diplomatic tie between Korea and Pakistan in 1983, Korea has been maintaining amicable relations with Pakistan for sustainable, social and economic reconstruction of Pakistan. From 1991 to 2010, KOICA has provided total amount of 48 million dollars of grant aid, and 93 million dollars of concessional loans. And KOICA Pakistan office has completed three projects since its establishment in 2010 such as; Pak-Korea garment technology training center in Karachi, Provision of safe drinking water supply schemes in Tehsil Phalia district in Mandi Bahauddin, and Rehabilitation of Sawat displaced people due to earthquake (with UN habitats) in 2010.

Now the community development project in Rawalpindi is on its planning stage which aims to introduce the New Village Movement of Korea to Arid Agriculture University Rawalpindi, invigorate active participation of local villagers, and promote self reliance and economic development of target community. Furthermore, KOICA Pakistan is currently carrying out 5 on-going projects such as; Pak-Korea Information and Communication Technology center of excellence in Islamabad, National capacity building institute for water quality management PCRWR in Islamabad, Pak-Korea technical textile center in national textile university in Faisalabad, and Waste water treatment facilities in Patoki district in Kasur.