Centro de inversiones de la FAO

Agricultural and rural transformation in Pakistan

The World Bank’s Strengthening Markets for Agriculture and Rural Transformation (SMART) project is helping farmers in Pakistan’s Punjab province increase their crop and livestock productivity, improve their climate resilience and foster agribusiness development.  The USD 300 million project is supported through the World Bank’s Program-for-Results (P4R) – a new financing instrument that leverages a country’s own institutions and processes and links the disbursement of funds to tangible results. The Investment Centre was heavily involved in SMART’s design, particularly the livestock sector review, development of project activities and preparation of results indicators that government departments must attain before further funds are disbursed.  Punjab’s livestock and dairy sector – which produces 65 percent of the nation’s supply – is due for a boost. Demand for dairy products is outpacing supply, with the gap met by low tariff milk powder imports. Small-scale dairy farmers, most of whom are landless, dominate the sector, and there is no formal competitive market, dairy supply chain or quality assurance.  In response, the project is shifting resources away from subsidies and toward building institutional capacities to transform this important sector. It is building laboratories to improve food quality and safety standards and creating farmer service hubs to provide quality dairy inputs and intensive training on breeding and food safety certification. The project is also helping farmers grow diverse higher-value crops, like vegetables, fruits, pulses and oilseeds, whose demand is rising much faster than lower value crops like wheat.  “Punjab contributes to over 70 percent of national cereal production and its agriculture sector employs 47 percent of the province’s 110 million people. Through the World Bank’s innovative financing instrument, the project will strengthen national institutional capacities to achieve rural transformation, improve the regulatory and enabling environment and give the private sector a firmer footing in which to operate,” said Mina Dowlatchahi, FAO Representative in Pakistan.  FAO is carrying out a Technical Cooperation Programme project to assist the Government of Punjab in implementing SMART and has developed a GCF funding proposal for climate resilient agriculture and climate-smart water management to be implemented in five districts of Punjab. 
Image: ©FAO/Farooq Naeem
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