FAO in Pakistan

Who We Are
The  Food  and Agriculture  Organization  (FAO)  is  a specialized  agency  of the United Nations  that leads international  efforts to defeat hunger.  Our goal is to achieve food security for all and make sure that people have regular access  to enough high-quality food to lead active, healthy lives. With 195 members - 194 countries and the European   Union,  FAO works in  over 130 countries worldwide.

What is Country Programming Framework?

Country Programming  Framework  (CPF) draws  on the United Nations Sustainable  Development Cooperation Framework (UNSDCF) 2023-2027 in Pakistan,  which guides FAO's partnership with the Government  of Pakistan, leveraging innovative international good practices, innovation and expertise. The CPF embedded with  the FAO's Strategic  Framework  that seeks to support the 2030 Agenda through the transformation to more efficient, inclusive, resilient and sustainable,  agri- food  systems for  better production, better nutrition, better environment,  and better life, leaving  no one behind.

FAO Partnerships

FAO will pursue partnerships as broad as possible and in alignment with the joint efforts  of the Government  of Pakistan and the development partners  for enhanced coordination. The Government of Pakistan and FAO look forward to seeking collaboration and support  from all concerned partners for the successful implementation of the CPF. In implementing the CPF and as a member  of the UN  Country   Team,  FAO  will  engage in  the governance and management   structures  of the UNSDCF to support its effective implementation.  FAO will promote coherence  in its own CPF and ensure  that the use of  national  systems and the promotion  of national leadership are maximized
Challenges and Opportunities Pakistan Facing

Pakistan has achieved promising  progress on several SDG targets.  The positive  trends  on 'Climate  Action'  (SDG 13) and  'No Poverty'  (SDG 1) could be built upon to accelerate the 2030 Agenda's implementation. Improvements are also underway on 'Decent Work and Economic Growth' (SDG 8) and 'Responsible  Consumption  and Production' (SDG 12).   However,  significant challenges persist on most SDGs, including  those of most relevance to FAO's work namely  'Zero Hunger'  (SDG 2), 'Gender Equality'  (SDG 5), 'Clean Water and Sanitation'  (SDG 6), 'Life below Water' (SDG 14),  and  'Life  on Land'  (SDG 15).

Results Envisioned by the End of CPF Period - 2027

Output 1

•  Strengthened nutrition related national systems.
•  Strengthened social protection systems.

Output 2

•    Enabling environment supports climate action.
•    Protection of the source of the Indus Basin.
•    Equitable use of water and resources in the Indus
•    Protection of the marine ecosystem of the Indus Basin.

Output 3

•    Enabling sustainable business environment and financing for development.
•    Women economically empowered in the world of

How does the CPF Tap into the Opportunities and Address the Challengesin Pakistan?

FAO Pakistan prioritizes the following areas:

1: Basic Social Services

FAO will support the establishment and development of inclusive efficient and effective food and nutrition systems, in terms  of availability, access, utilization and stability including  food safety. The specific support will strengthen existing social protection and anticipatory systems and support subsistence level men and women farmers to restore and enhance food production and consumption.

2: Climate Change and the Environment

FAO's  actions  will include  inputs  to strengthen national institutional and regulatory systems for climate-responsive planning and development, as well as national and sub-national climate information and data systems. Governance structures to deliver evidence-based   oversight   of  water and land resources at Provincial, River Basin, and Watershed and Community  levels will be assisted. FAO will also work to enhance sustainable management in small­ scale fisheries and aquaculture and the associated habitats.

3: Sustainable Inclusive Economic Growth and Decent Work

FAO  will contribute  to agriculture  and  natural resource management to drive progress, create adequate decent jobs for youth, adolescent girls & women, and vulnerable segments of society, and ensure that the most vulnerable and marginalized will be protected from exploitation. Across all its activities under these priorities, FAO aims to achieve increased gender equity, inclusion, community engagement and maximize financing for development.

In the story of rural women in Pakistan, a triple divide - digital, sociocultural, and economic - poses complex challenges. With a substantial mobile gender gap, limited access to technology in rural areas hinders communication and economic growth. Despite these obstacles, a powerful narrative of resilience emerges, showcasing the tenacity and ingenuity of rural women navigating the digital and societal barriers. Read on to learn about a meeting of remarkable group of women from Ahmad Pur Lama, Rahim Yar Khan, Pakistan.

These women were equipped with tablets provided by FAO, specially designed for the purpose of utilising agriculture-related applications, aligning with the training they have already received from FAO.

Initiated in collaboration with the Government of Punjab, the Digital Village Initiative (DVI) was launched in districts Rahim Yar Khan and Sargodha earlier this year following a comprehensive assessment conducted across seven districts in Punjab and Sindh. This strategic launch is an integral part of FAO's global initiative, the 1000 Digital Village Initiative in Asia and the Pacific. The overarching goal is to bridge the technological gap, thereby empowering rural communities with access to digital resources, education, and diverse opportunities.

Through these tablets, these women are experiencing tangible benefits as they engage with agriculture-related applications. "The tablet provided to me serves as a valuable tool to enhance my knowledge and access crucial information on crop management, market trends, and sustainable farming practices," shared Sehrish, a teacher and beneficiary. She highlighted the positive impact, stating, "A lot of improvement has come in our life. We were trained on using agriculture-related apps such as Field climate HLWS mobile application, equipping us with valuable insights on weather, soil, pests, and more. We also got to explore other fantastic Digital Agriculture platforms like Grow tech, Sawie, Infarmer, and Pak Agri Mart. Previously, we didn't know about the weather updates. Now, I regularly use those apps and guide my family. We get to know what crop to grow, the expected weather conditions, and we are benefiting from them. For example, we used to water our crops excessively, leading to crop ruin and wastage of precarious water. Now, we save water, cut costs, and our crops are thriving.”

Having undergone training, Irfana, another beneficiary and a dedicated field visitor recognises the immense potential of the online world. She has effectively communicated the advantages to her family, encouraging them to subscribe to agriculture-related apps. By doing so, they can gain insights into weather patterns, learn about beneficial and harmful insects/pests, and make informed decisions for their sugarcane cultivation. Irfana has also advised her family to adopt organic farming practices, emphasising the positive impact on soil health and the overall climate. Her family's decision to incorporate organic materials, undergo water and soil testing upon her advice has yielded significant benefits, improving crop quality and resource efficiency.

It is not only the agriculture advice but she is also sharing the information regarding digital world with the women in her community. Her position as a field visitor, helps her in guiding and empowering women and young girls in an area marked by cultural and traditional barriers that restrict women's mobility. In this backward region, where girls often face limitations in learning new skills due to societal norms, Irfana has observed a positive shift facilitated by the use of mobile phones.

Despite prevalent cultural restrictions, many girls have found a way to access mobile phones during the day, often belonging to male family members. They are utilizing this opportunity to learn skills such as tailoring, embroidery, makeup, and cooking, within the comfort of their homes—a convenience previously denied as they either had to go out and pay or were not allowed to do so. Moreover, the use of educational apps has become a transformative tool for young girls, with mothers, even those not well-educated, actively participating in their children's studies and homework.

“At FAO, we place significant importance on the pivotal role women play in ensuring global food security. Recognising that women's empowerment is a cornerstone in the quest for a world without hunger, we are committed to addressing the barriers hindering women from accessing and adopting new technologies. With a firm belief in the transformative power of digital inclusion, we launched the Digital Village Initiative, placing a deliberate focus on empowering women in rural areas," shared Aamer Irshad, Head of Programme at FAO Pakistan. He further explained, "Through this initiative, we aim to bridge the digital gender gap by providing women with the necessary tools and resources to harness the benefits of technology. By focusing on rural areas, where women often face unique challenges, we strive to create a more inclusive and equitable environment. Our goal is to empower women not only through technology access but also by fostering skill development and creating opportunities for them to thrive in the digital landscape. We firmly believe that by uplifting women in these communities, we contribute not only to their empowerment but also to the broader goal of achieving food security for all.”

In facing challenges and celebrating successes, these women in rural Pakistan not only use digital tools for farming but also bring positive change to their communities. By sharing knowledge, promoting sustainable farming, and empowering the next generation, the Digital Village Initiative serves as a hopeful force, working towards the larger goals of food security and women's empowerment.