Webinar on “A better livelihood for smallholders under China-Pak Coop”

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ISLAMABAD, SEP 17 (DNA) – A virtual validation workshop was organised jointly by the National Rural Support Programme (NRSP) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) Pakistan in collaboration with Foreign Economic Cooperation Center (FECC), Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, P.R. China.

The webinar was part of a series of policy talks inviting discussion and debate under the project titled “Effective South-South Cooperation in Agriculture to Unleash Transformative Power of Agriculture Sector for Inclusive Development in Pakistan”.

During the talks, Hubert Boirard, IFAD Country Director for Pakistan, welcomed the participants and panelists. He gave a brief overview of the project and informed participants that the project was funded by the IFAD-China South South and Triangular Cooperation Facility, a grant dedicated to mobilizing knowledge, technologies and resources from the Global South to accelerate rural poverty alleviation, enhance rural productivity, and advance rural transformation. 

“Over the last three decades IFAD has supported farming communities in Pakistan, especially smallholders, to improve their socioeconomic conditions through a variety of interventions. IFAD will extend its technical support through this recent initiative as it continues to support improved livelihoods in rural areas in Pakistan and China.”

Sher Ali Arbab, Chairman Parliamentary Committee on CPEC appreciated this initiative which was need of the hour in the context of unleashing the potential of CPEC and its tributary initiatives. He further emphasized that the project should establish and operate an effective knowledge generation and sharing platform to provide customized assistances in helping Pakistan to unleash the transformative power of agriculture sector for the country’s inclusive development.

He said, “Government of Pakistan is committed to make all efforts so that the benefits of CPEC actually trickle down to poor Pakistani communities. The initiative of China-Pakistan Agricultural Cooperation will go a long way in improving livelihood opportunities of small farmers in Pakistan. He assured unwavering support of Government of Pakistan for this initiative”

Dr. Wang Geng, Director, FECC, Ministry of Agricultural and Rural Affairs, P.R.C and Prof. Yangzhijiang, Dean of International Education, Xinjiang Agricultural University gave a presentation on Effective South-South Cooperation in Agriculture to Unleash Transformative Power of Agriculture Sector for Inclusive Development in Pakistan.

He said, “Knowledge sharing through South-South and Triangular Cooperation is a very powerful tool to facilitate the exchange of lessons learnt and best practices among countries of the global south and help them end poverty and hunger. The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs China and Xinjiang Agriculture University will continue supporting this noble cause through knowledge exchange to benefit poor farming communities in Pakistan and China”

Dr. Rashid Bajwa, CEO NRSP and Dr. Yusuf Zafar, former Chairman PARC presented Status of Agriculture Development in Pakistan and highlighted the challenges that smallholders as well as progressive farmers have to endure 

They hoped that the project target audience, which include smallholder farmers and farmer organizations, agribusiness and agriculture-related firms and Governmental agencies such as Irrigation Department, Agriculture Department, Commerce Department etc. will benefit from this unprecedented opportunity of knowledge sharing to add to the agriculture development in Pakistan.

He stated, “NRSP is mandated to eliminate poverty in Pakistan and smallholders and poor farming communities are, therefore, the target audience of NRSP. By following a participatory and community-driven development approach, NRSP has touched and transformed the lives of about four million poor households across Pakistan.

NRSP will benefit from such an unmatched opportunity of working with China-Pakistan Agriculture Cooperation to pass on the information, lessons learned and best practices to poor communities in Pakistan through a network of Community Organizations”

A panel discussion was also held on ‘Fostering a better livelihood for Smallholders in Pakistan under China-Pakistan Agricultural Cooperation’. The panelists were distinguished agriculture and development experts from public and private sector of Pakistan and China, including Gu Wenliang, Agricultural Counsellor, China Embassy in Pakistan.

They highlighted the best practice and good lessons from previous China-Pakistan agricultural cooperation, the roles that private sectors can play in promoting smallholder agricultural development under CPEC and ways to ensure that the benefits of China-Pakistan Agricultural Cooperation trickle down to smallholders in Pakistan.

Gu Wenliang noted that transfer of agriculture skills/technology/experience from China will be more applicable for smallholders in Pakistan and the cross-sharing knowledge and experiences will benefit agriculture sector of both China and Pakistan to meet the emerging challenges, especially in the context of Climate Change and Global Warming. = DNA

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