ISLAMABAD: The United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) has developed a project proposal for Gilgit-Baltistan on agro-industry development programme, targeting fresh and dry fruits, trout fish as well as dairy sector.
The project was developed following the conclusion of a need assessment mission to Gilgit-Baltistan for which UNIDO contributed $50,000 as seed money for developing the project. The anticipated budget will be around $3 million for the first phase to be mobilised by the federal government, international donors and UN funds.
According to UNIDO, the concept for value addition was conceived in close collaboration with the ministry of national food security and research as well as active participation of the provincial agriculture department.
The project team was led by UNIDO representative in Pakistan Esam Alqararah, which undertook field visits to Peshawar and Gilgit-Baltistan for details. The team includes an international food expert from Lebanon and a UNIDO project manager based in Vienna.
The mission also interacted with farmers and women associations to seek the problems faced by them and to identify the gaps where UNIDO could provide assistance for further strengthening selected value chains.
The mission also held a meeting with Gilgit-Baltistan Chief Minister and informed him of UNIDO’s assistance with the uplift of poor communities in the area as well as assisting the government to establish a certification system of various perishable commodities like cherry and apricot, enabling these products to meet compliance and compatibility for export to China and minimize post-harvest losses. The Gilgit-Baltistan government is also helping to fund the project from local government resources.
A follow-up meeting reiterated that through this project UNIDO was working on much needed interventions that come under priority areas for the government.
Published in Dawn, May 24th, 2017