The U.S. Government has boosted the incomes of more than 9,000 households in the border districts of Balochistan by 20 to 50 percent. This is another example of how America improves the lives of Pakistani farmers.
This $16 million project launched in 2006 is funded by the American people through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and delivered by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the Balochistan Government. When it ends this summer, the project will either directly or indirectly benefit more than 240,000 individuals in five border districts of Balochistan.
The project is helping communities improve their production of apples, grapes, onions and other crops as well as livestock such as sheep and cattle. With USAID funding, FAO teaches villagers how to sort their products by quality and assists farmers in finding more profitable markets. The project also helps villagers form community organizations to share their skills and increase their bargaining power.
One of the many villages that have benefited from this assistance is Saragurhai, Quetta District. The USAID-funded project worked with a local company, EDO Livestock, to help the Saragurhai's women's community organization improve shearing, cleaning, and sorting of wool to increase its market value. The project also helped villagers to find buyers at the Multan wool market. "I sold 10 maunds (400 kilograms) of wool in Multan and earned 1,700 Rupees per maund instead of the 400 Rupees that I usually get," said one of the women. Approximately 20 percent of the participants are women.
Similarly, in apple-growing communities, the USAID-funded project introduced sorting of apples by quality, which has increased revenues from apple sales by 30 percent.
In livestock-raising communities, the USAID-funded project helped farmers take more control over setting the price for their animals. Cattle-raisers used to travel to Quetta to sell their livestock, losing value along the way. No more. In cooperation with the Government of Balochistan and district governments, the project established cattle markets in four districts. As a result, animal sales quadrupled in the past three years, and sales revenues increased significantly.