ISLAMABD: UNIDO Pakistan has concluded a successful need assessment mission to Gilgit Baltistan and KPK during last week, exploring the potential of agricultural produce of the areas and to help the government in transforming agriculture into agro-industry by addressing the gaps in various value chains for fresh fruits, dry fruits, fish and dairy sector. UNIDO after a series of consultations, developed a project proposal on Agro-Industry Development Program for Pakistan targeting three sectors i.e fresh fruits, dry stone fruits, trout fish as well as dairy . The concept for value addition was conceived in close collaboration with the federal Ministry of Food Security and Research as well as active participation of Provincial Agriculture Departments. The main objective is to assess the selected value chains relevant to provide assistance in processing, packaging, branding, certification as well as establishing linkages with national and international markets.
UNIDO has contributed $ 50,000 as a seed money to undertake this need assessment for the formulation of the project document. The anticipated budget for the project would be 3 million USD for phase I, to be mobilized from government of Pakistan and some other international donors including UN funds. A project formulation mission lead by Mr. Esam Alqararah, UNIDO Representative, and comprising of Mr. Bassel Alkhatib, UNIDO Project Manager at UNIDO Head Office in Vienna, and Mr. Youssef Doughan, International food Expert from Lebanon, had undertook field visit to Peshawar and Gilgit Baltistan, where the meetings with various high level officials were held. The mission also interacted with farmers and women associations to seek the problems faced by them and to identify the gaps where UNIDO could provide assistance for further strengthening of selected value chains. The Chief Minister of Gilgit Batistan during his meeting with UNIDO team appraised UNIDO’s assistance for the uplift of poor communities in the area as well as for assisting the government to have a system established for the certification of various perishable commodities like cherry and apricot to enable these products meet compliance and compatibility for export to China and minimize the post harvest losses. The government of GB is also facilitating to fund the project from local government resources.
UNIDO mission also had high level meetings at federal level including with Economic Affairs Division, where it was reiterated that through this project UNIDO is working on much needed interventions that comes under priority area for government of Pakistan. The government of Pakistan ensured all its support for the project and for funding from local and international donors once the project document is finalized.