Karachi : FrieslandCampina Engro Pakistan Limited (FCEPL) signed a Letter of Intent (LOI) with International Trade Centre (ITC) for Growth for Rural Advancement & Sustainable Progress (GRASP) in Karachi.
Growth for Rural Advancement & Sustainable Progress (GRASP) is a European Union-funded project implemented by ITC with its partners, in 12 districts of Sindh and 10 districts of Balochistan. Primarily focused on poverty alleviation and gender mainstreaming, the initiative aims to improve the productivity and profitability of pre-selected value chains in horticulture and livestock sectors by refining the small and medium enterprises (SME) competitiveness in domestic commerce.
FrieslandCampina Engro Pakistan (FCEPL) is one of the largest dairy conglomerates in Pakistan, catering to local needs by providing nutritious and quality dairy products. The company has always been a strong supporter of women empowerment and sustainable growth for dairy farmers.
At the signing ceremony, Ali Ahmed Khan, Vice President, Middle East, North Africa & Pakistan, FrieslandCampina stated, “Our commitment to improving the productivity and profitability of value chains in the livestock sectors reflects our vision to create a sustainable and equitable future for all. We believe that by enhancing the competitiveness of SMEs, we can foster greater economic growth and opportunity in Pakistan. We look forward to working with our partners to drive lasting change and sustainable progress in the rural areas of Sindh and Balochistan, and pave the way for a brighter, more prosperous future for Pakistan.”
Robert Skidmore, Chief of Sector and Enterprise Competitiveness, ITC, further highlighted the important role of the private sector in promoting the SMEs “for the larger purpose of alleviating poverty and achieving sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth as established in the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.”
Also in attendance, Syed Saud Ahmed Pasha, Director Corporate Affairs, FCEPL, further established the importance of collaborative efforts to uplift the country’s economy. “It is imperative to develop joint initiatives to promote inclusive development through trade by a setup through which rural SMEs have equitable access to markets, finance, and business support systems.”
The signing with ITC was followed by the discussions between the signatories regarding technical aspects for the project.
Complementing each other’s activities, FCEPL will provide support to GRASP initiatives pertaining to policy reforms, business development, and market linkages in the dairy sector through the inclusion of GRASP-supported SMEs. In return, ITC will include FCEPL’s network farmers (which will potentially extend to 20,000 FCEPL trained female agripreneurs) for technical training and capacity building around agri-business management and marketing, climate smart agriculture, quality, food safety, matching grants and financial literacy to dairy farmers.
The parties have also committed to further dairy sector support in terms of UNSDGs such as poverty reduction, zero hunger, nutrition, food safety & security, women empowerment, public-private partnerships, policy and regulatory inputs.