On Thursday, the government of Pakistan and Italy signed an agreement worth 20.5 million euro, Under the Economic Transformation Initiatives (ETI) programme, the Government of Italian Republic will provide infrastructural support, capacity building and technical assistance for the value chain of key agricultural products to the benefit of rural communities of Gilgit-Baltistan.
The Agreement signed by Secretary Economic Affairs Division Noor Ahmed and Ambassador of Italy in Pakistan Stefano Pontecorvo. Hammad Azhar, Minister for Economic Affairs, witnessed the signing of the agreement in Islamabad.
Economic Transformation Initiatives (ETI) Gilgit-Baltistan is the largest development programme of the Gilgit-Baltistan government. Gilgit-Baltistan is a remote mountainous region with less population and comparatively higher incidence of poverty.
Agricultural productivity is generally low due to poor access to quality inputs, considerable post-harvest losses (45% for apricots and 10% for potatoes), lack of local processing and adding value and low market access.
International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) is providing USD 76 million over a period of 7 years.
This program will improve incomes and reduce poverty and malnutrition in the rural areas of the Gilgit-Baltistan region, benefiting approximately 100,000 rural households.
The Minister thanked the Italian Government for providing this financial facility for the improvement of the Gilgit-Baltistan population.
He said the government appreciated Italy’s financial cooperation and hoped to strengthen its bilateral relations in the future, especially after the Joint Economic Commission in October 2019.
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