Project description / objective
Creating sustainable income-generating opportunities, leading to jobs, income and more resilient communities in the northwest tribal regions of Pakistan.
The programme focuses on improving earning opportunities in both the commodity and skills sectors for youth (especially young women) - in conflict-affected and host communities and disadvantaged groups - by fostering technical and entrepreneurial skills for improved productivity both in terms of production and skills efficiency.
Market system focus
The strawberry market provides huge job opportunities with the potential to generate more jobs compared to other market systems. There is also increased demand for strawberries in the intervention district of Charsadda.
Strawberry farming involves small farmers, with land of up to one acre. Poor men, women and youth are significant contributors to labour.
The dairy sector provides work and is a major source of income for poor farmers, both men and women. There are about 250 rural and semi- urban dairy farms with livestock ranging from 10 to 150 animals per farm.
Dairy farming in Charsadda, KPK is practised by almost 35 per cent (estimated) by the households in Charsadda (221,000 households). It provides work for both families and daily wage/hired labour.
Tomato is one of the major crops in the area and is grown by almost all farmers on varying sizes of land. It is one of the major livelihoods, providing family labour for poor farmers. It involves mostly women farmers at the operational level.
However, due to obsolete production technology, highly fluctuating market prices, a short production season (surface tomato), and the lack of quality inputs, the market system is becoming less productive and rewarding for farmers.
- Matching grants with the inputs suppliers, as well as potential entrepreneurs, to invest in the newly introduced inputs/technologies and pilot testing on a cost share basis.
- Pilot testing of new technologies with the farmers to produce market quality strawberries and to link the farmers with high end markets.
- Capacity building of service providers (public and private) and developing supply chains to ensure availability of quality inputs at local level.
- Incentivise companies (Ghazi Brothers, ICI, Reef Agro) to build the capacity of veterinary practitioners (Government and private). Supply chain development of quality inputs at local level.
- Pilot testing improved livestock farming practices with women livestock keepers using the Livestock Farmer Field School methodology to generate demand for improved products and services.
- Facilitating the development of the Government Livestock Department’s Mobile Veterinary Clinic for mass level services to farming communities.
- Support SMEs (fodder choppers, government/private veterinary service providers, inputs suppliers) in improving their skills for efficient service delivery, cost minimisation and improved productivity of dairy entrepreneurs/farmers.
- Organising and running crop programmes together with Syngenta Pakistan to improve the service quality of the inputs suppliers and the farmers.
Capacity building of inputs suppliers and developing supply chains to ensure availability of quality inputs at the local level.
- Pilot testing of improved technology with farmers, calculating production economics and organising field days for mass awareness about the success of new technologies.
- Developing partnerships with private seed/pesticide companies to improve the service quality of existing/new inputs suppliers (for embedded services).
Notable results (systemic change, poverty impact)
There was an increased demand for the new inputs required to grow strawberries. The project tested the technology initially on four acres, with 25 farmers. This was adopted and adapted by farmers on 120 acres in the next growing season. In the second year it reached 250 acres (0.25 acre per farmer). By the end of the project it is expected that the new technology will be utilised by almost 5,000 farm families in the project area and 6,000 farm families outside the project area.
The intervention has had a ripple effect with local farmers using the inputs on an area of more than 250 acres in the second year. This shows how a thinly penetrated market is expanding with every passing year. Significant increases of 35 per cent in production and 30 per cent in income are recorded as a result of project interventions.
There is a significant increase in the business volumes (productivity and profitability) of strawberry farmers, inputs suppliers and traders. The gross margin of farmers per acre of land increased by 51 per cent. Access and outreach has also improved for the input providers in the targeted pockets. These inputs are readily available at the doorstep and in the immediate vicinity of the farming community. 47 per cent of the targeted farmers can now have these inputs available at village level. This is convenient and time saving – which is critical in commercial vegetables – and the business environment generated also has a positive impact on inter-communal bondage and interrelated income opportunities.
Production costs for dairy farming went down because of improved services such as the availability of quality inputs and improved management practices. On average 50 per cent of farm households lose 1-2 animals per year due to Foot and Mouth Disease. Increased awareness about the use of vaccines, capacity building of the service providers and mobilisation of government-operated mobile veterinary clinic has significantly cut down the effects of HS (haemorrhagic septicaemia) in the area.
Farmers are now sensitised to go for high-yielding sires (AI) for improved quality breeds of cows. Productivity per animal increased by 5 per cent, with an average farm size of four to five animals; 8 per cent with 10-12 animals; and 13 per cent with over 15 animals. Input suppliers, supported by the programme and by private companies, have had significant increases in sales.
The improved quality of both public and private sector veterinary practitioners has increased the demand for their services by farmers. Close links between private companies, the Government Livestock Department and private veterinary practitioners has helped sustain programme interventions.
Farmers’ incomes increased by 75 per cent and production is beyond comparison with traditional practices. On average the per acre production before the intervention was 8,000 kg. This has now increased to 32,000 kg per acre in one season. Similarly, the crop stand increased from 45 days to 90 days, where every farmer gets both peak and low prices, giving them an opportunity to cover their expenses in the lower market prices period and get higher profit from high market demand period.
Copying of the improved practices and technologies has begun. Almost 5,000 farm families grew tomatoes in 2020 compared 250-300 farmers previously. Business for inputs suppliers, middlemen, commission agents and local transporters has considerably increased in the last two to three years due to changes in the existing cropping pattern as a result of introducing new varieties and technologies.
[uploaded September 2021]