Islamabad, August 6, 2021 – On August 5, the U.S. Mission to Pakistan, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), and the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government celebrated the successful completion of a $984,000 project that provided more than 4,000 farming households with alternatives to illicit crop production in the Bajaur, Khyber, Torghar, and Mohmand districts. Director of the Embassy’s International Narcotics and Law Enforcement (INL) section Mark Tervakoski, FAO Representative Rebekah Bell, KP Agriculture Minister Mohib Ullah Khan, and Director General of the Agriculture Extension Department Abid Kamal participated in the ceremony.
Under this INL-funded project, FAO provided alternative livelihoods to farmers formerly engaged in or vulnerable to illicit crop cultivation. More than 4,000 farmers, including 1,200 women, received wheat, onion, corn, tomato, cucumber, and sunflower seeds; olive plants; trainings; and agriculture machinery and tools – including shovels, spray pumps, tractors, and leveling and harvesting machines– to grow high-value licit crops.
Rebekah Bell, FAO’s Representative for Pakistan, highlighted the cooperation under this project and said, “FAO’s partnership with INL and the Government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has been excellent in the promotion of high value crops to create stable sources of livelihoods for the vulnerable communities in the newly merged districts.”
INL Director Mark Tervakoski also reflected on the impact of the partnership between the U.S. government, FAO, and the KP government: “This project ensured farmers vulnerable to poppy cultivation have alternate, more lucrative, legal crop cultivation opportunities to pursue, promoting a more secure and prosperous Pakistan and region.”
For more than 30 years, the United States and Pakistan have worked together to reduce the supply of poppy and other illicit drugs by increasing access to alternative livelihoods and opportunities for the most vulnerable farmers of KP province. INL works in more than 90 countries to help combat crime and corruption, counter the narcotics trade, improve police institutions, and promote court systems that are fair and accountable. Find out more about INL at: http://www.state.gov/j/inl