Islamabad, December 17, 2012 (PPI-OT): The US funded Pakistan Cold Chain Development (PACCD) project is transforming lives in Balochistan by helping farmers increase their incomes. PACCD promotes fruit, vegetable, and fishery farming, marketing best practices, and upgrades of cold storage facilities. Skills training and infrastructure grants help reduce post-harvest losses and help small-scale agricultural traders increase their incomes by improving the quality and shelf-life of fresh produce and fish.
The project is leaving an enduring positive impact on the lives of local community members, according to a local female entrepreneur who runs Balochistan’s first and only woman-owned cold storage facility. PACCD links the area’s fruit, vegetable, and fishery producers to markets in Lahore, Islamabad, Karachi and Hyderabad, as well as markets abroad. These links will broaden market access for farming communities and increase profits.
“Thanks to this project, my Safina Cold Store is the first modern cold storage facility in the province,” said Safina Bibi, a local female entrepreneur who runs Safina Cold Store in Quetta, Balochistan. Safina Cold Store is Balochistan’s first and only woman-owned cold storage facility. Funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, PACCD provided Safina’s company with modern equipment and helped remodel her facility to a modern storage facility for locally-produced apples, grapes, pomegranates, and dates. Safina Cold Store now benefits over 250 farmers and traders of Balochistan who are now selling their goods year-round.
Known as the fruit basket of Pakistan, Balochistan provides 90 percent of the grapes, cherries and almonds, 60 percent of the peaches, pomegranates and apricots, 34 percent of the apples and 70 percent of the dates produced in Pakistan annually. That’s a total of approximately 450,000 tonnes of fruit each year.
A significant portion of this produce never reaches prime markets because of inadequate knowledge of post-harvest requirements. The province also produces at least 200,000 tons of fish yearly but quality control is absent and methods and vessels used are antiquated.
PACCD is one of many U.S.-funded projects that help increase productivity and profits for Pakistani farmers. American and Pakistani scientists work together to breed disease-resistant cotton and wheat, and the United States and Pakistan are also expanding irrigation by 200,000 acres to spur farming near the Gomal Zam and Satpara dams.
For more information, contact:
Public Affairs Section
Embassy of the United States of America
Diplomatic Enclave, Ramna 5
Tel: +9251-208 0000
Fax: +9251-227 8607