There is a growing trend of high value and off-season vegetables production throughout Pakistan. It is among the fastest growing sub-sectors owing to its relatively high profitability and increasing demand in both the domestic and international markets. However, the share of HV/OSV in Pakistan’s total horticulture production of 8.1 million tons is estimated to be around 0.35 million tons only, clearly emphasizing the growth opportunities that lie in this value chain.With the size of land holdings ever shrinking, HV/OSV production can become an important alternative strategy, especially for small-holders, to maximize income. Likewise, high value horticulture in and around major urban centers is emerging as a way to transform agriculture by adopting modern technology and precision farming in many developing countries, including Pakistan.
The Agribusiness Project (TAP) is working to promote sustainable high value horticulture, investment in modern farming techniques, and technical knowledge about greenhouse farming by involving more producers in the HV/OSV sector. The project is providing transformative technology grants and technical assistance to help farmers’ set-up plastic high tunnels, and improve profitability by growing high value crops during the off season. The project, with its interventions, aims to provide around 4,000 new jobs, benefit more than 7,000 rural households directly, provide skill development training to over 4,000 farmers, increase the production volume by 15% and reduce post-harvest losses by 30%.
- Promote HV/OSV entrepreneurship by providing transformational grant support (high yielding quality seed, packing materials and toolkits, structure farming, walk-in and high tunnels and small processing plants) to HV/OSV farmers and small farmers in natural off-season pockets.
- The project supported 2084 farmers through provision of improved quality hybrid HV/OSV seed, seedling trays, harvest bins and toolkits.
- Support enterprises for establishment of 3 model pack houses for washing, grading and packing of produce and demonstration of five low cost Drip Irrigation System at High Tunnel Grants’ sites
- A total of 3688 HV/OSV farmers from KPK, FATA and Punjab have been trained in enterprise development, improved vegetable production and Integrated Pest Management practices
- Conducting regular Farmers Field Day events for hands-on field training at different stages of the crop cycle; to improve networking, experience sharing and B2B linkages
- Value addition through grading, sorting, and packaging support.
- Host National Technical Working Group on Vegetables &Fruit for Global G.A.P in Pakistan.
- Support establishment of twomodel collective buying centers at Lahore and Shiekhupura for HV/OSV produced by beneficiary farmers
- Develop market linkages of agribusinesses with high-end markets, as well as establish linkages of vegetable farmers with fresh fruit and vegetable traders.
- Formation and strengthening of HV/OSV Producerbodies in Malakand, Peshawar, Hazara, Potohar and Lahore
- Organize Vegetable Fairs to promote HV/OSV in Pakistan.
Mr. Ibrar proudly said that he earned fifty thousand rupees from ASF HV/OSV tunnel without spending even a single penny and still earning from tomato plants as they are still in fruiting stage