Peshawar (Khyber Mail): The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Board of Investment and Trade (KP BOIT) recently co-hosted the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Agriculture and Food Summit.

The summit aimed to foster investment in the agriculture sector through B2B and B2G arrangements, promoting the sustainable transformation of the agrifood system.

With over 300 participants in attendance, the summit provided a platform for matchmaking between potential private investors, startups, academia, and commercial banks. Thirty small businesses and startups from the private sector showcased their products, fostering networking opportunities to enhance their enterprises.

Booths for B2B meetings were set up, facilitating connections between investors and agriculture companies. These meetings allowed for the exchange of knowledge and exploration of available options to transform the agriculture and food sector.

In his opening remarks, Aamer Irshad, Head of Program at FAO Pakistan, addressed the challenges in food production due to declining investment in agriculture. He highlighted the Hand-in-Hand initiative (HiHi), launched by the Director-General of FAO, as a response to address challenges related to poverty, food security, and the promotion of investment in the agriculture sector.

Farrukh Toirov, Head of FAO office in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, outlined FAO’s focus on key agribusiness subsectors in the agriculture sector, including horticulture, crop production, livestock, forestry, apiculture, and floriculture. He emphasized how small businesses are benefitting from FAO interventions, such as off-season vegetable production, drip irrigation systems, walk-in-tunnels, corrugated cardboard cartons, solar tunnel driers, and other best practices.

Iqbal Sarwar, Director Business Facilitation at KP-BOIT, highlighted the significance of the event and provided a detailed presentation on the role of KP-BOIT, various initiatives by the KP Government, and investment opportunities in different sectors of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Speakers from the State Bank of Pakistan, Board of Investment, livestock and agriculture departments, Agri-tourism, USAID, Karandaz, and others addressed challenges in the agriculture sector. They proposed various reforms, policy actions, and identified investment potential for the sustainable management of Pakistan’s agriculture sector.

The summit featured sessions on agribusiness, agri-tourism, financial assistance opportunities, prospects of tea cultivation, investment opportunities for slaughterhouse establishment, potential of olive oil, and more.

A panel discussion on the opportunities, challenges, and the way forward for investment in agriculture, livestock, and fisheries was organized. Facilitated by the BOIT, the event concluded after B2B and B2G meetings, along with visits to stalls.

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