ISLAMABAD,29 (Gwadar Pro) - Around 80 participants from Pakistani government,research and academia,development partners and public and private institutions and organizations gathered in Islamabad for the first round of multi-stakeholder consultations on efforts to reduce poverty.
Under Growth for Rural Advancement and Sustainable Progress (GRASP) initiative,small and medium enterprises in Sindh and Baluchistan associated with livestock,dairy and horticulture will be strengthened in a period of over five years.
This project is funded by European Union in Pakistan and is implemented by International Trade Centre(ITC).
The discussions focused on the identification of priority products in the horticulture,livestock and dairy sectors.In addition,key issues such as producers'capabilities,support services,policy and regulatory environment were also determined.
Mr Abdul Razak Dawood,Advisor for Commerce,Textile,Industries,Production and Investment said Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) make up the bulk of businesses in Pakistan.In order to achieve coherent,broad-based and sustainable economic growth,there is a need to focus on SMEs and unleash the potential in livestock and horticulture besides other sectors in the country and GRASP comes at the most appropriate time when Pakistan is geared toward improvement in these sectors.
Mr Milko Van Gool,Head of Cooperation,EU in Pakistan said GRASP aligns with the rural development and economic cooperation initiatives of the European Union in Pakistan as it will help SMEs in horticulture,livestock and dairy sectors become more competitive by making improvements at all levels of the value chains.These consultations will help us adapt to the federal and provincial context in Pakistan for maximum impact on the lives of people in Sindh and Baluchistan.
While speaking about the consultations in Karachi,Quetta and Islamabad,Robert Skidmore,Chief Sector and Enterprise Competitiveness International Trade Centre expressed that contributions of partners in this first round of consultations will help achieve a measurable reduction in poverty and increase in economic growth in addition to creation of more job opportunities in the country.
Livestock, dairy and horticulture - which account for 70% of value-added agriculture - have particularly strong potential for growth,climate adaptation and increased participation of women.Small and medium-sized enterprises in these two sectors,face major challenges.
Olivier Marty, Lead Inception Phase ITC and Owais Khan representative of ITC in Pakistan were also present.Similar discussions were also held at the multi-stakeholder consultations in Karachi and Quetta attended by representatives of provincial governments of Sindh and Baluchistan.
GRASP will help small and medium-sized enterprises in horticulture and livestock become more competitive by making improvements at all levels of the value chain.The nine month inception phase of the project began in June 2019.
Under the project,the ITC has developed criteria to shortlist priority products through quantitative and qualitative assessment to categories long list of potential products from the two provinces.
Pakistan is among the top countries that will be most affected by climate change.The global phenomenon has already started to affect livelihoods of those living in the arid, semi-arid and coastal areas of Sindh and Baluchistan.
During stakeholder consultations, horticulture and livestock products were discussed to select top four products for Baluchistan from vegetables and fruits including onion,date,melon,grape,tomato,olive,apricot and apple,while in livestock sector, sheep, goat, poultry or camel will be decided for two top priority products.
In Sindh,among the horticulture products, five products from vegetables and fruits including onion,tomato,date,banana,chilie,mango,guava and melon will be shortlisted.Among the livestock products,two products will be finalized for the project from goat,cattle and buffalo and poultry sectors.
Livestock, dairy and horticulture - which accounts for 70 percent of the value-added agriculture - have particularly strong potential for growth,climate adaptation and increased participation of women,small and medium-sized enterprises in these two sectors,face major challenges, according to the ITC.