PESHAWAR: The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations organized the first agriculture and livestock technology expo in Kurram tribal district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, on Tuesday.

The expo was a part of the activities for the USAID funded project “The Horticulture Advancement Activity-THAzA.”

FAO’s THAzA project, along with working to sustainably increase and improve agriculture production in the region, also strives to increase the productivity, profitability, and improve market linkages of local farmers, says a press release.

To this effect, a large number of national input suppliers, service providers, and technology companies took part in the first of its kind event in Parachinar, Kurram. At the two-day expo, Supply Side Partners (SSP) demonstrated their products, tools and technologies and presented them to their Demand Side Partners, which comprised of farmers, producers, and local suppliers. Handouts with information regarding their technical innovations were also given to the participants. Deputy Chief of party for the THAzA project, Dr. Ihsan stated that agriculture technologies coupled with the hard work of farmers would result in increase of agriculture production in Kurram.

Attended by more than 700 participants, the Agri expo highlighted the potential of Pakistan’s agriculture sector key players to the local community, by providing a platform for both the supply and demand side participants. Private agriculture companies, technological suppliers, farmers, and government officials explored new technology best suited to local environment and crops at the event. THAzA project beneficiaries during the expo observed the latest innovations and tools used in other parts of the country, and were looking forward to piloting their implementations in their own practices.

Speaking at the event, the chief guest Additional Deputy Commissioner Afaq Wazir commended FAO for organizing an event of this scale for the first time in Kurram. He urged the supply side companies to develop multiple dealerships in the district to promote fair competition, while assuring the district administrations support to FAO for such initiatives, as well as the local farming community, which he commented was progressive and willing to adopt new technological practices.

FAO Representative for Pakistan Ms. Mina Dowlatchahi stated, “The amazing participation of farmers shows there is need to connect them to markets and service providers, to develop farmers’ capacities, profitability, and provide more business opportunities to all in the Agriculture sector, with careful consideration to climate resilient and sustainable practices. In future, women farmers and service providers will be targeted.”

The FAO is implementing the five-year USAID funded Horticultural Advancement Activity-THAzA in Balochistan and tribal districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, that will impact and improve commercial horticultural value chains with a competitive advantage in these provinces. THAzA focuses on increasing agri-production, improving product quality, reduce post harvests losses, processing and marketing. This project will create jobs and income opportunities for smallholder farmers in both provinces providing them access to diversified markets and services.