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ISLAMABAD, Feb 09 (APP): Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in collaboration with the Provincial Government of Balochistan have established 62 Farmers Marketing Collectives (FMCs) for 9 different agriculture business and value chain in order to promote the agriculture and livestock sectors in most underdeveloped districts of the province.

The initiative was aiming at to improve living standers of most vulnerable farm families of under privileged districts of the province through enhancing livelihood opportunists and addressing malnutrition issues particularly in women and children by introducing interventions in agriculture and livestock value added sectors.

The interventions were made under Australia Balochistan Agribusiness Program (AusABBA) Phase-II, initiated from 2017 to 2020 which had benefited 6,260 households comprising on 56,245 men and women in 09 different agri-businesses including onion production and processing, dates, grape production and processing.

They were also provided training for the developments of fruit plant nurseries, vegetable seedlings, poultry and wool production and processing.

The program was started between 2012 to 2020, received financial assistance from the Australian government and helped improved the household incomes for more than 23,000 households in the south-west Balochistan.

Besides The program also helped to establish for 21 mutual marketing organizations (MMOs), which were registered with the agriculture cooperatives department as cooperatives and legal entities.

In order to address the malnutrition issues in women and children as well as economically empowering the women form these districts, about 5,440 female farmers were trained for integrated household food system, besides providing inputs and training to 837 beneficiaries on wool production and processing.

In order to exploit backyard poultry farming potential of the province, 88 household consisting over 792 females were provided with poultry chicks, poultry management trainings and others, besides providing inputs and training to 139 women in 15 households for vegetable seedlings production.

FAO under the program had also responded to the increased levels of food insecurity in Balochistan due to Covid-19 by initiating a household food production and experimental nutrition education intervention through which families that have pregnant or lactating mothers are trained under the Integrated Household Food Systems.