The United States, through the U.S. Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Entrepreneurs Project, has trained 24,000 small business owners in the field of medicinal plants and honey. The Medicinal and Aromatic Plants and Honey Industry conference on February 3 featured discussions aimed at developing the medicinal plant and honey sector in Pakistan. Plant collectors and bee-keepers discussed business opportunities with buyers and service providers.
During the conference, USAID’s Mission Director Gregory Gottlieb explained, “The U.S. Government is committed to working in partnership with the people and government of Pakistan to revitalize economic activity in the conflict and flood-affected communities of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. We support Pakistan’s efforts to develop competitive products and forge lasting linkages with international markets to accelerate sales, investment, and job growth, particularly in the agriculture sector. This U.S.-Pakistan cooperation is helping Pakistan build economic prosperity for its people.”
In an effort to increase farmers’ incomes, the conference introduced plant collectors and beekeepers to successful agribusiness entrepreneurs. Representatives from the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provincial government, including the Ministry of Forestry and the Provincial Reconstruction, Rehabilitation and Settlement Authority (PaRRSA) attended the symposium, along with experts, traders, and sales agents dealing in medicinal plants and honey.
“Assistance from the American people has helped uplift the economic situation of some of Pakistan’s poorest communities,” said Mr. Muhammad Tahir Orakzai, Director General of the Provincial Disaster Management Authority for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. “This conference is a part of a broader agenda that the U.S. Government and the Government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa are pursuing together to bring sustainable economic change to the region.”
This initiative is just one part of a comprehensive U.S. economic growth assistance program for Pakistan which includes expanding irrigation by 200,000 acres to spur farming near Gomal Zam and Satpara dams, and increasing the incomes of 250,000 farmers and female agricultural workers through training and increased access to market networks, allowing them to earn more money for the crops they grow.