Training of women on picking vegetables at Palosi, Peshawar | © Foundation for Rural Development

Re-Food Pakistan

© Foundation for Rural Development

In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, in Pakistan, food insecurity, malnutrition and poverty are widespread in semi-urban and rural areas due to drought, floods and rising food prices. Given the rapidly growing population, these problems are likely to worsen. With this project, Helvetas is creating prospects for diversifying food systems in Pakistan and thus contributing to the country's food security.

  • Project Name
    Resource Efficient Food Production in Pakistan (Re-Food Pakistan)
  • Project Phase
    2023 to 2025
  • Funding
    This project is funded by the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development
  • Thematic focus
    Food & Nutrition

Pakistan, one of the most populous countries in the world with over 220 million people, is facing major challenges of food insecurity, malnutrition and poverty, especially in rural and semi-urban areas of KP province. Rapid urbanization and population growth have made food security a pressing issue as agricultural land is being converted for housing, leading to rising food prices and creating financial hurdles for low-income families.

In addition, Pakistan has struggled in recent years with various disasters such as droughts, the Covid 19 pandemic, and the devastating 2022 floods that destroyed over 9.4 million hectares of agricultural land and crops. This has further exacerbated existing food insecurity in the country.

The Government of Pakistan recognizes the need to create more diverse and resilient food systems to address food insecurity, malnutrition and climate risks. This is where the innovative vertical farming approach comes in, to grow fresh, nutritious food in urban areas in limited space to strengthen food security.

This project, a collaboration between Helvetas and local partner organization Foundation for Rural Development (FRD), aims to improve the cultivation techniques of smallholder farmers in rural and semi-urban areas on the outskirts of Peshawar. This involves converting home-based vegetable cultivation into a vertical formation to increase productivity and introduce resource-efficient agricultural practices. The goal is to improve the socioeconomic situation of smallholder farmers and establish vertical farming as a sustainable solution for food security in Pakistan.

Through the project, smallholder farmers and community and extension workers living in semi-urban areas of Peshawar district are being trained in vertical farming techniques and efficient practices for domestic and commercial use to raise awareness of the benefits of vertical farming, including higher crop yields on smaller land areas, lower water consumption, and year-round crop production. In addition, several demonstration sites will be established in rural and semi-urban areas that can serve as institutionalization models for agricultural extension services.

The project will increase the income of the target group and make them more resilient to the effects of climate change and the increasing demand for food in Pakistan.

This project is funded by the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development.

© Foundation for Rural Development
Training farmers to grow tomatoes in seed trays in Shahi Bala, Peshawar. © Foundation for Rural Development
© Foundation for Rural Development
Vertical Tunnel System. © Foundation for Rural Development
© Foundation for Rural Development
Vertical Tunnel Installation. © Foundation for Rural Development

How Helvetas Supports People in Pakistan

Helvetas focuses its efforts in Pakistan on providing better protection against natural disasters and on sustainable water management.