For improving conventional farming practices through modernization that would lead towards improved output, the Upper FATA Livelihood Development Program (FATA LDP) has embarked on an initiative to strengthen various Farm Services Centers (FSCs) setup at 06 Tehsils in Khyber, Mohmand and Bajaur Agencies at a cost of Rs 1.9 Million. The Agriculture Component of the Upper FATA LDP in partnership with the Directorate of Agricultural Extension of the FATA Secretariat has already instigated the procurement process for heavy farming machinery that includes tractors, trolleys, threshers, reapers, maize shellers, ploughing equipment and spray pumps which will be provided to these FSCs located in Khar and Raghan in Bajaur Agency, Yakkaghund and Ambar in Mohmand Agency as well as Bara and Landikotal in Khyber Agency.
These agricultural development outfits are running under self-managed basis by elected boards that ensure strong community participation and delegation of decision-making authority. For better coordination between government and community, Agriculture Officers have been appointed by the FATA Secretariat at each of these centers to provide Secretariat level support. Giving further details on the development, the spokesman for the Directorate of Information FATA added that under the farming sector strengthening and capacity building measures of the Upper FATA LDP; 10 tractors, 12 threshers, 09 reapers, 10 trolleys, 06 rotavators, 06 mouldboard ploughs, 06 cultivators, 210 spray pumps and 20 auto sprayers shall be provided to these farm facilitation and innovation centers. In addition to improving the agricultural output of the region, the state-of-the-art machinery will also generate considerable income thereby benefiting well over 5000 households.
Beside machinery, efforts are also underway to arrange training workshops for the management committee of the FSCs in areas ranging from effective management and systematic record keeping to optimal usage and proper maintenance of the farm machinery. An official of the Agriculture Component of the Upper FATA LDP while making a reference to the skill development program averred that such hands-on exercises will boost the confidence and productivity of the farmers in running the operations of the farm enterprises on profitable basis. He further added that the income generated will also increase the levels of the revolving funds which could be used for procuring more quality inputs and extending the outreach of the FSCs to more farmers in other areas.