PESHAWAR— The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations has started distribution of Kharif crop packages to 16000 vulnerable households in the earsthwhile tribal districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa with the support of United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

Another 2000 beneficiaries are also being supported with the Kharif package in these districts under the US-INL funded project.

The package consists of certified 25 kilograms maize seed, 1.5 kilograms sunflower, 5 kilograms red beans and 10 kilograms French beans for each household. The distribution is being conducted in collaboration with the Department of Agriculture and District Administration and in strict compliance with the COVID-19 prevention protocols.

With the COVID-19 pandemic adversely affecting the farming community, FAO is stepping up efforts to protect livelihoods of food producers and all food chain workers by providing quality agri-input packages to beneficiaries so that the season bound agriculture activities are not disrupted. Through its interventions in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s newly merged districts, FAO has introduced high value crops and agriculture value chains to create sustainable livelihoods for the farmers.

“This intervention has been timely in providing support to smallholder farmers in these vulnerable areas, help building sustainable food system and ensuring food security to mitigate the impact of the COVID 19 pandemic on agriculture. Providing farmers with a mix of high quality certified seeds such as maize, sunflower and beans for the Kharif season crop will also contribute to ensure some dietary diversification as well as supply to keep markets and food supply chains going,” said Mina Dowlatchahi, FAO Representative in Pakistan.

Amid the COVID-19 outbreak, FAO projects are playing a vital role in ensuring food security, reducing poverty and bringing economic stabilization in the newly merged districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. In addition to distribution of various agriculture packages to vulnerable smallholder farmers, FAO through its farmer field schools and field training activities is also arranging regular sessions for local farmer communities to raise awareness on safety and hygiene measures to prevent spread of COVID-19.

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