About the Author: Alberto Rodriguez serves as Spokesperson at the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan.
During a ceremony held today, January 11, 2011, in Peshawar, officials from the government of Khyber Pakhtunkwa (KPk) and the United States marked the success of their partnership in providing high-quality wheat seeds to flood-affected farmers across the nation. The $62 million Agricultural Recovery Program includes $21 million dollars for KPk alone to help the province's farmers recover from the floods of last summer.
The program distributed seed packages to households throughout the country just in time for planting the Rabi crop. If the farmers had not received seeds this fall, there would have been no wheat crop in 2011, depriving rural communities of their staple food and leaving many families in danger of poverty and hunger.
It also includes cash-for-work projects to clean and repair irrigation systems and provides farmers with much-needed vegetable seeds to quickly boost family nutrition. The program also provides supplementary feed and veterinary support for livestock to prevent disease outbreaks and offers overall support to ensure the agricultural health of KPk after the floods.
The program is a joint effort between the government of KPk and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and is being implemented by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). The Provincial Reconstruction, Rehabilitation, and Settlement Authority (PaRRSA) and the Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) identified villages and union councils in order to arrange the seed distribution, and worked tirelessly in the districts to train farmers and ensure efficient distribution.
"Over 1.3 million rural farming people have been provided food security as a result of this crucial program," stated Ambassador Robin Raphel, the U.S. Coordinator for Economic and Development Assistance in Pakistan. "We are pleased to be able to help the Government of Pakistan provide these essential commodities to its citizens."
USAID's continued partnership with the government of Pakistan will help revitalize KPk's agricultural resources and restore economic activity across the flood-affected areas of the province.
Learn more about flood disaster relief here.