U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) recently launched a new pilot project to introduce mobile enabled advisory and financial services for peach and potato farmers and fishermen in Swat, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The U.S. through the USAID continues to help Pakistan in every possible manner and the commencement of the above mentioned project is an example of the ways in which the U.S. is committed to bring prosperity in Pakistan.
With an increase in Mobile Banking this initiative would help about 1,700 small and medium sized farms and 15,000 people to get access to mobile banking. Farmers, by availing this service would be able to increase their crop yields and carry out swift and easy financial transactions on the go.
USAID’s Mission Director Gregory Gottlieb at an event in the capital city felt that the peach, potato and fisheries sectors of Swat would heavily benefit from the initiative taken by USAID. He said: “This pilot initiative will provide a platform to establish the basis and modalities for the promotion of mobile enabled advisory and financial services in the agriculture sector, starting with the peach, potato and fisheries sectors of Swat”
The launch of this project pleased the local farmers of SWAT as it would become easy for them to predict the weather changes and irrigate and spray accordingly. A peach farmer from Swat described the project as: “We need weather updates in order to be informed about possible rain or hail so we can decide in time when to spray and irrigate. Through timely information my efforts and investment will not be wasted.”
This project is a combined effort by the USAID, the government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Telenor Pakistan. The government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa would provide advice and market information to local farmers while Telenor would help the local farmers to avail mobile financial services.
Notable personalities that were present at the launching ceremony of this project were USAID Mission Director Gregory Gottlieb, Minister for Agriculture and Information Technology, Government of Khyber Pahktunkhwa Mr. Shahram Khan Tarakai, Chairman Pakistan Telecommunication Authority Syed Islmail Shah and Director and Head of Products & Financial Services, Telenor Pakistan, Mr. Khurram Malik.
The initial phase of the project will test the commercial viability of private sector enterprises, including multinational corporations, to launch similar services in other sectors and regions of Pakistan.