The Food Security and Agriculture Center of Excellence (FACE), set up in 2019, by the Fauji Fertilizer Company (FFC), is a registered not-for-profit initiative which aims to eradicate hunger in Pakistan and ensure food security for future generations. It has been set up as a one-window solution aiming to help small and medium-sized land-holding farmers, to drive agricultural innovation and modernization in the country.
Fauji Fertiliser is one of Pakistan’s prime fertilizer companies. With decades of industry leadership and best practices, it set up FACE to tackle dynamics contributing towards declining national food security, improve the prosperity of small farmers and upgrading of the agricultural sector in Pakistan.
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Why is this important for Pakistan?
Food security is defined as people’s access to sufficient, safe, and nutritious food to maintain a healthy and active life (World Food Summit, 1996). Pakistan is an agrarian society, with agriculture making up more than 18.5% of the national GDP; however, recent statistics show Pakistan’s ranking at 77th in the Global Food Security Index with 36.9% of the population as food insecure. Since 2015, food security has been recognized as the second most emergent threat to world peace and prosperity.
In 2015, the United Nations set 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), with 169 associated targets, to be met by all countries to improve the lives of people by 2030. It has marked “Zero Hunger” as its second strategic area of interventions. Pakistan currently stands 88th on the Zero Hunger Index (2020).
FACE: Projects and Initiatives
FACE is designed as a holistic program encompassing economic, agricultural, and socio-welfare work to ensure food security and the betterment of farmers. It provides different agricultural and social services, along with livestock management and microfinancing.
Agriculture and farmer-related services by FACE target small and medium-sized farmers who are unable to adopt modern agriculture due to several factors including, lack of awareness, unavailability of quality inputs, modern technology, and cannot access financial capital for farming implements necessary for mechanized farming.
FACE provides capacity-building and technical training for farmers. Farmers are also provided top-of-the-line agricultural equipment on a rental basis to promote mechanized farming techniques. They are also assisted in the disposal of crops to the markets in major cities through market linkages to ensure fair market rates.
Pakistani farmers generally have limited awareness of best practices for managing livestock and often end up underutilizing their resources.
FACE aims to reduce the mortality rate of livestock by at least 15%, encourage farmers to ensure value addition of at least 5% of their products and increase farmers’ productivity by 5%.
Furthermore, it plans to introduce services through its field offices such as mobile veterinary clinics through corporate vans that provide free vaccination for livestock and provide market linkages for the marketing of dairy products so that farmers get the best returns.
Training and field camps for animal care in collaboration with the Punjab Livestock Department have also been conducted.
For its social services in education, FACE has formed a strategic partnership with ALIGHT for education, with Educate A Child program. It is an initiative to enable the education of as many children as possible and introduce a standard education system in host communities across Pakistan by providing accelerated learning programs to people to complete primary education in a reduced, three-year time period.
In addition to this, there are plans on establishing an Interactive Learning Center to provide essential education services for all members of the community, including farmers, with separate sessions for men and women.
FACE has also launched vocational training and opportunities. It is mainly working with women and the youth in local areas by providing technical and vocational training to enhance their existing skills and learn new skills to secure better work opportunities and earn improved livelihoods. Already started in Ahmedpur Lamma, training will be made available through a Vocational Training Institute established at the FACE field office. Training will be conducted for various professions including sewing, finished dairy product management, fruit preservation, kitchen gardening etc.
Orphan Support Program
To provide support to the orphans and to enable them to meet necessary expenses, FACE has resolved to give stipends to each orphan through its partner organization, the Al-Khidmat Foundation. Starting with Ahmedpur Lamma, after a thorough need assessment, selected orphans have been selected and will be provided with a monthly stipend worth Rs. 3,500/- till the time each orphan is 18 years of age.
Through FACE, health services are provided through dedicated establishments within the FACE field offices. These include model health clinics and well-equipped dispensaries, and feature visits by female doctors and paramedical staff for women-related medical issues and nutrition counseling.
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The clinics will also feature outpatient departments for men. Awareness programs will be conducted, comprising of lectures on hygiene and healthcare and awareness campaigns on epidemics.
FACE frequently holds medical camps that focus on women’s health, mother and child health, community outreach, mobilization on general hygiene and common disease countermeasures. In addition, to the medical camps, workshops on hygiene awareness and nutrition have also been held.
Women Empowerment and Gender Diversity programs
FACE has taken several measures to empower women and enable them to contribute financially to their households. These measures include vocational training, free seeds, training on “Food Safety and Hygiene for Prevention of Diseases among Consumers”, collaboration for population education and awareness campaign sessions, free contraceptive products for men and women, easy access to markets in local communities and major cities for selling homemade products and handicrafts.
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Renewable Energy utilization as the new standard
FACE is taking measures to guarantee a clean and sustainable environment for the present and future and is collaborating with partners to provide cost-effective renewable energy solutions such as solar panels, and small hydro turbines to harness the energy that will be used by the rural community.
Additionally, there are plans to introduce hand pumps for collecting water, so that farmers and their families do not have to travel great distances for this purpose.
The FACE team also provides micro-financing and other loan facilities at the lowest affordable rates for farmers. By providing an alternative source of monetary lending, this initiative aims to save farmers from being exploited by orthodox money lending service providers. In addition to farmers, small loans will be provided to women so that they may start business ventures and become contributing members of their households.