Pakistan: $5 million grant signed to rebuild livelihoods in quake affected areas

Report
from Government of Pakistan
Published on 13 Jun 2006
ISLAMABAD 13 June (APP): Pakistan and the Asian Development Bank Tuesday signed the Letter of Agreement for grant support to 8,000 poor and vulnerable households headed by women and the disabled in largely inaccessible areas devastated by the October 2005 earthquake. The US$5 million grant, from the Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction (JFPR), financed by the Government of Japan, will help targeted households, many of whom live at high altitudes, resume cultivating crops and thus rebuild their livelihoods. The agreement was signed here by Peter Fedon, Country Director at ADB's Pakistan Resident Mission, Secretary, Economic Affairs Division Khalid Saaed.

The Project is designed to deliver urgently needed agricultural and livestock supplies, including farming inputs, goat and poultry units and animal feed and animal sheds, training in health and sanitation and rehabilitation of community-based small infrastructure. It thus aims to instill self-confidence to enable the communities to participate in income-generating activities and eliminate dependence on aid. "The revival of subsistence-level crop and livestock husbandry activities will ensure food security and secure livestock from perishing in the cold without shelter," Fedon says, "Physical infrastructure identified and prioritized by the communities themselves including drinking water supplies and sanitation facilities will be also restored."

The Ministry of Food, Agriculture, and Livestock (MINFAL) is the Executing Agency. Project implementation and management support will be provided by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations (UN). FAO will be responsible for the procurement and delivery of materials and supplies needed to union council headquarters. FAO will also provide technical backstopping in agriculture and livestock interventions. The subsidiary implementing agencies at the field level will be the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN), National Rural Support Programme (NRSP), and Sarhad Rural Support Programme (SRSP). They will be responsible for community mobilization, participatory identification of community needs, and delivery of materials from; the union council headquarters to the beneficiaries.

The grant complements ADB's Earthquake Emergency Assistance Project (EEAP) package, which is supported by an Asian Development Fund (ADF) loan of $220 million and a grant of $80 million approved on 13 December 2005. The JFPR was setup in 2000 with an initial contribution of Y10 billion (about $90 million). The Fund now stands at over $360 million, of which $193 million have been committed for 82 projects. ADB, based in Manila, is dedicated to reducing poverty in the Asia and Pacific region through pro-poor sustainable economic growth, social development, and good governance. Established in 1966, it is owned by 65 members - 47 from the region. In 2005, it approved loans and technical assistance totaling $6.95 billion and $198.8 million, respectively. Pakistan and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) also signed a Letter of Agreement on a $2 million grant for a pilot project to fortify flour and reduce anemia and folic acid deficiency. The grant, for the Iron and Folic Acid Fortification in Small Scale Flour Milling, will add dietary iron and folic acid to small chakkis (bullock driven mills), targeting 175,000 people in two low income, high risk districts over two years. It comes from ADB's Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction (JFPR),financed by the Government of Japan.

Chakki millers will be taught to fortify flour and the project will help district and provincial governments to regulate, monitor, and support the fortification process. "The project will help define realistic objectives and strategies for the sustainable expansion of flour fortification at small-scale chakkis, Fedon says. "This will protect up to 50-60% of the population, mainly the rural poor, who are served only by chakkis." It will also assist local government, child and/or women welfare groups, and NGOs to create community support and consumer demand for fortified flour. The project will upgrade up to 100 chakkis in two districts. Collaborative government/NGO support systems will be established for flour inspection and testing, social marketing, public education and nutrition monitoring. Fortified flour consumption will reduce deficiencies by at least 20% among the target population.

The World Health Organization (WHO) states that deficiencies in iron and folic acid have devastating impacts on health and survival in Pakistan, with a resulting high cost to national economic development. About 40% of women, 65% of children, and a substantial number of men suffer from anemia. An ADB country study conducted in conjunction with the Ministry of Health estimates that in over 10 years more than 22,000 maternal deaths and $4.6 billion in lost productivity were caused by iron deficiency and an estimated 40,000 deaths from heart disease and birth defects were caused by folic acid deficiency. Chakki flour fortification remains the best hope for relief from iron and folic acid deficiency for more than half the population.

Flour fortified with folic acid is expected to bring down the number of children born with birth defects by one third, and rates of coronary heart disease by up to 9%. The JFPR was set up in 2000 with an initial contribution of Y10 billion (about $90 million). The Fund now stands at over $360 million, of which $193 million is committed for 82 projects. ADB, based in Manila, is dedicated to reducing poverty in the Asia and Pacific region through pro-poor sustainable economic growth, social development, and good governance. Established in 1966, it is owned by 65 members -47 from the region. In 2005, it approved loans and technical assistance totaling $6.95 billion and $198.8 million, respectively.