ISLAMABAD, (Pakistan Point News - APP - 1st August, 2016) : The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Engro Foundation signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Monday to generate investment opportunities and access to modern information technology for farmers in Punjab. "The MoU signed today, which will be managed through USAID's Punjab Enabling Environment Project, highlights the U.S. government's commitment to support small farmers in Pakistan," USAID Agriculture Specialist Asad Ullah Khan said.
"Our two organizations will work together to connect farmers to the financial services sector to mobilize investments in small farms and create employment opportunities in the agriculture sector of Punjab." Through this partnership, the USAID and the Engro Foundation will support 5,000 farmers by encouraging microfinance banks to provide loans that will ensure farmers have access to the necessary tools and services needed for agricultural inputs and transactions.
The partnership will also work with the information technology sector to help disseminate agricultural advisory services to area farmers. The advisory services will provide information on cropping patterns, weather forecasts, and farming techniques which can help farmers adopt practices to increase yields and productivity, according to a press release issued here. Speaking at the ceremony, Aman ul Haque from Engro Foundation said, "The collective efforts and common linkages with relevant micro-finance institutions and telecommunication companies will help us expand this program by bridging the gap between the marginalized rural communities and service providers.
Engro's Farmer Connect Programme led by our fertilizer team is looking to solve all issues related to the farmer ranging from yield improvement, soil fertility and water conservation. Access to finance and knowledge sharing through a digital platform are also critical components to enhance the livelihood of the farmer in Pakistan." USAID's Punjab Enabling Environment Project is a five-year, $15 million project which aims to improve the business environment in the livestock, dairy, and horticulture sectors of Punjab.
Engro Foundation is the social investment arm of Engro which aims to improve livelihoods in its communities and in Engro's business value chains. Under the Farmer Connect Programme, Engro Foundation in coordination with Engro Fertilizers aims to improve the livelihoods of the agri population by improving productivity and ensuring best agri practices for long term sustainability.