About the Author: Alberto Rodriguez serves as a Spokesperson at U.S. Embassy Islamabad.
On December 13, 2010, the United States launched a project to help small farmers in Sindh Province cultivate sunflowers by providing seed, fertilizer and technical assistance.
USAID Economic Growth Officer Sarah Parvez, who represented the United States at a launching ceremony in Madad Pur Khoso Village, said, "This project will jumpstart the local economy by creating direct and indirect employment and increasing farmers' incomes." The project was organized in cooperation with the Sindh Province Ministry of Agriculture, which was represented at the ceremony by Secretary of Agriculture Agha Jan Akhtar and Jacobabad District Coordination Officer Sajid Jamal Abro.
The project, supported by $15 million in USAID funding, is part of a larger, comprehensive commitment on the part of the United States to help the people of Pakistan recover from the devastating monsoon floods. It will fund seed, fertilizer, and soil preparation to allow farmers to sow sunflowers in eight flood-affected districts to supplement or replace their usual wheat crop, which many were unable to sow because of standing water left by the monsoon floods.
The program will be implemented through the Rural Support Program Network (RSPN), Sindh Rural Support Organization (SRSO), and the Sindh Abadgar Board. The SRSO and Sindh Abadgar Board will train farmers in how to harvest the sunflower crop and will link them with buyers who will purchase the seeds and process them into sunflower oil.