ARAB NEWS: International Fund for Agricultural Development office to open in Islamabad next month, boost partnership

Country: Pakistan
ARAB NEWS: International Fund for Agricultural Development office to open in Islamabad next month, boost partnership
18 April 2024

ARAB NEWS reports: Pakistan is facing the dual challenges of an economic crisis and the adverse impacts of climate change, particularly concerning its food security. In response, the government has been actively seeking ways to bolster its agricultural sector. One significant development in this effort is the forthcoming opening of an International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) office in Islamabad. This move is expected to strengthen the partnership between Pakistan and IFAD, formalizing their existing collaboration in areas such as food security, climate resilience, and rural poverty reduction.

IFAD, a specialized agency of the United Nations, focuses on addressing poverty and hunger in rural areas of developing countries. Its extensive portfolio in Pakistan includes 28 projects totaling $2.91 billion in investments, highlighting the substantial support it provides to the country's agricultural sector.

The decision to establish the IFAD office in Islamabad follows a bilateral meeting between Pakistani Ambassador Ali Javed and IFAD President Alvaro Lario in Rome. Both parties expressed satisfaction with their longstanding cooperation and resolved to further consolidate their partnership through the new IFAD Country Office in Islamabad.

Fernanda Thomaz Da Rocha, the IFAD Pakistan Country Director, emphasized her commitment to advancing bilateral cooperation to a new level. The formal operationalization of the IFAD country office in Islamabad is scheduled for the upcoming month, signaling a significant milestone in Pakistan's efforts to enhance its agricultural resilience and food security.

Pakistan's agricultural sector plays a vital role in its economy, contributing 23 percent to the GDP and employing 37.4 percent of the labor force. However, the sector faces challenges such as decreasing cultivation area, a population-production gap, and heavy agricultural imports amounting to $10 billion. To address these issues, Pakistan has initiated various measures, including the establishment of the Land Information and Management System, Center of Excellence (LIMS-CoE), aimed at modernizing agro-farming practices. This initiative, supported by an initial $500 million investment from Saudi Arabia, seeks to utilize over 9 million hectares of uncultivated state land for agricultural purposes.

Furthermore, Pakistan has embarked on the Special Investment Facilitation Council (SIFC) initiative, which includes plans to introduce corporate agriculture farming (CAF) across all provinces. The inauguration of the nation's first corporate farm by Pakistan Army Chief General Asim Munir and former Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif underscores the country's commitment to modernizing its agricultural sector and improving productivity.

In summary, Pakistan's efforts to enhance its agricultural resilience and food security are multifaceted, involving collaboration with international partners like IFAD, as well as domestic initiatives aimed at modernizing farming practices and increasing productivity. The establishment of the IFAD office in Islamabad is expected to further strengthen these endeavors and contribute to sustainable development in the agricultural sector.

Photo: The undated file photo shows the logo of International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) displayed at the IFAD Governing Council in Rome. (Photo courtesy: IFAD/LinkedIn)

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