Engro & USAID in joint-collaboration to support farmers
ISLAMABAD: A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Engro Foundation was signed on Monday aiming to generate investment opportunities and make the provision of modern information technology (IT) accessible to farmers in Punjab.
“The MoU signed today, which will be managed through USAID’s Punjab Enabling Environment Project, highlights the US government’s commitment to support small farmers in Pakistan,” said USAID Agriculture Specialist Asad Ullah Khan.
Meanwhile, Engro Foundation in this regard, noted that their two organisations would work together to connect farmers to the financial services sector to mobilise investments in small farms by creating employment opportunities in the agriculture sector of Punjab.
Both organizations, USAID and the Engro Foundation are expected to support approximately 5,000 farmers through this partnership by encouraging micro-finance banks to grant loans, which will ensure an access to farmers with all the necessary tools and services needed for agricultural inputs and transactions. The partnership will also collaborate with the IT sector to help disseminating agricultural advisory services to farmers. The advisory services comprising information on cropping patterns, weather forecasts, and farming techniques in order to help farmers adopt practices that increase yield and productivity.
A representative from Engro Foundation, Aman ul Haque, also spoke at the ceremony, and 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 marginalised rural communities and service providers. Engro’s Farmer Connect Program led by our fertiliser 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.”
It is pertinent to mention that USAID’s Punjab Enabling Environment Project is a five-year project worth $15 million, 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 that aims to improve livelihoods in local communities and in Engro’s business value chains. Under the Farmer Connect Programme, Engro Foundation with assistance from Engro Fertilizers also aims to improve the livelihoods of the farmers by developing productivity and ensuring best agricultural practices for long-term sustainability.