FAO in Pakistan

Farmers Get Water for Their Gardens

The USAID-funded FAO Balochistan Agricultural Project helps farmers bring water and adopt new farming techniques

Thirty-year old farmer Mohammad Yousuf from Kili Ali Mohammad Village farmers’ group in Quetta District of Balochistan, Pakistan, is proud about the many improvements that his community has made with support from the USAID and FAO Balochistan Agricultural Project.

Water is extremely scarce in Balochistan.  So when the USAID-funded project offered the rural community to help address its priority needs several years ago, water supply was placed at the top of the list.

The project helped the villagers build a water pipeline from the nearby mountain. While the project provided funding for equipment, the villagers contributed their labour to build the system.  “Before, it used to take us at least four hours to water our fields,” says Yousuf. “Now, it we are able water our fields in minutes.”

The project also worked with the farmers to improve the productivity of their work and incomes: leveled fields, brought in new varieties of seeds and fruit trees, and taught new farming methods.   Together with the project, farmers visited various markets across the country to learn what the buyers want.  As a result, farmers started using cardboard boxes to package fruit, adopted new varieties of crops, and reduced the size of packaging bags for vegetables. Immediately, revenues went up. 

Additionally, under the project guidance, a farming marketing collective was formed to collaborate on farming and sales actions. Through the collective, farmers purchase packaging materials at lower prices, deliver larger amounts of produce to buyers, and save on transportation costs due to the larger quantities of produce shipped. While each of these farmers owns only 4-5 acres of land, together, they gain considerable savings from the economies of scale. In 2012 alone, these farmers in-creased their apple revenues by 67% due to group sales.

“The project has taught us how to work together, and as a result, we are able to earn better incomes,” explains Yousuf.  “Now we can survive because the project taught us how to farm more effectively,” adds another farmer, Agha Mohammad.