Peshawar, U.S. Ambassador Donald A. Blome participated in a closing event of a five-year, $1.3 million U.S. Embassy-funded sustainable farming program today.
The Alternative Livelihoods Options Project, which was implemented by the FAO with the assistance of the KP government, has helped 3,700 farmers, including over 600 women, increase their incomes by teaching them improved agricultural practices and increasing their access to new, alternative crops.
The program’s “achievements are far-reaching,” said Ambassador Blome, noting that it “helped establish fruit orchards, vegetable gardens, greenhouses, and irrigation systems benefitting more than 25,000 people.”
He also commended the 624 women leaders who participated in the project. “You inspire us and give us hope for a better tomorrow,” he said.
Ambassador Blome thanked Director General Khan, Secretary Marwat and the FAO for their assistance in carrying out the project.
After the ceremony, Ambassador Blome met farmers who participated in the project and planted a tree at FAO premises.
Muhammad Javed Marwat, Secretary, Agriculture Department Khyber Pakhtunkhwa; Jan Muhammad Khan, Director General, Agricultural Extension Khyber Pakhtunkhwa; and Farrukh Toirov, Head of Officer UN Food and Agriculture (FAO), Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, also spoke at the event.
AMBASSADOR BLOME Remarks:
Assalam Alaikum and good morning!
We are here to celebrate the Alternative Livelihood Options project, a collaboration between the United States, the KP government, and the Food and Agriculture Organization.
This project is the result of five years of planning, countless hours of coordination, and more than $1.3 million in U.S. support. And its achievements as we are hearing today are far-reaching.
As a result of this project, the people of KP have increased access to alternative crops and improved agricultural practices. It benefited 3,700 farmers – including more than 600 women – across five districts. And it helped establish fruit orchards, vegetable gardens, greenhouses, and irrigation systems benefitting more than 25,000 people.
Thanks to our joint efforts, today farmers and their families can take pride in new skills and lucrative crops.
To the farmers here today, thank you for the courageous decision that you have taken to put your families, your communities, and Pakistan on a path to greater security and prosperity. I look forward to speaking with and learning from you about your experiences at the conclusion of today’s ceremony.
I want to commend especially the 624 women leaders who participated in the project. You inspire us and give us hope for a better future.
The United States and Pakistan share a common interest in ensuring peace and prosperity in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa – and providing alternative economic options that empower women.
Thank you, Secretary Marwat, Director General Muhammad Khan, and Florence for prioritizing the inclusive foundation of this project. You make possible our shared commitment to promoting the participation and full integration of women in decision-making, law enforcement, justice, and peacekeeping.
I also want to express our gratitude to the KP government and the staff of the Food and Agriculture Organization. We appreciate the strong partnership that made the successful completion of this project possible.
I want to especially acknowledge the KP Departments of Agriculture and Food, Security, and Research. Our partnership has ensured that the farming communities most vulnerable to illicit crop production receive the training, materials, and equipment they need to prosper.
In closing, I appreciate the hard work and dedication of everyone here for making the Alternative Livelihood Options project a success. The project serves as a model for how we can work with Pakistani partners to strengthen sustainable agricultural production, combat poppy cultivation, and foster inclusive economic growth.
Together, we are building a Pakistan that is safer, stronger, and more secure. To all of those gathered here today, congratulations, and thank you for the opportunity to share and celebrate your impressive accomplishments.