SWABI - The Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund (PPAF) has launched a project “Enhancing Food Security through Strategic Interventions in Agricul­ture” here in the district on Satur­day.

The cheque distribution ceremony was held at Right Bank Tarbela Dam Recreational Centre where Speaker National Assembly Asad Qaiser was the chief guest.

The gathering was attended by PPAF officials, politicians and lead­ers of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI). The females of the region were given cheques. The new programme has been initiated in 12 union councils of districts Swabi and Torghar in the province.

Addressing the occasion Qaiser said that PPAF initiated efforts to commence a unique initiative tar­geting the farmer community and boosting the agriculture sector, which is expected to bolster their fi­nancial position.

“The farmers are the backbone of the entire agriculture system and ignoring them could harm the whole mechanism. For the agricul­tural sector progress, it is essen­tial to educate small farmers and extend financial help to them,” he said.

The speaker said that the PPAF project will not only provide prof­itable alternative farming to local communities, but will also enhance their capacities.

Project initiated in 12 UCs of Swabi and Torghar; provides profitable alternative farming to local communities

The government shall continue to support more of such initiatives to foster growth,” he said.

The project, which is being imple­mented by PPAF partner organisa­tions International Fund for Agricul­tural Development (IFAD) and the Asian Development Bank (ADB), has been designed to address the critical issues of poor crop productivity and low economic returns, he said.

He stated that as part of the proj­ect, activities are planned to ensure efficient water input and improved agricultural value chains, adding that community institutions will be formed along with establishment of field schools for farmers where they could be educated on sustainable practices. He said that in addition, modern agricultural enterprises will also be formulated for community institutions.

Chief Executive Officer of the Fund Qazi Azmat Esa said that we are committed to achieving the sustain­able development goals for poverty eradication by introducing innova­tive practices, which could benefit people belonging to different sec­tors.

Head of Programmes, PPAF, Simi Kamal stated that it is pivotal for us to equip farmers about sustainable practices such as effective water util­isation so they could maximise out­put and use resources wisely, add­ing that this project shall lay a solid foundation for all of us.

The other PPAF officials said that the fund is also implementing the interest-free loan component of the Ehsaas Programme through its partner organisations. Loans worth Rs16.65 billion have been disbursed so far to 490,122 borrowers, out of which, 45 per cent of the borrowers are women.

In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa alone, interest-free loans of around Rs1249.98 million have been rolled out to more than 39,956 borrow­ers. A total Rs42.65 billion has been earmarked for 110 districts across the country under the Ehsaas Pro­gramme.