The project has two complementary components designed to enhance economic growth: business enabling environment and value chain development. The business enabling environment component aims to improve the capabilities of government, primarily at the district level, to accelerate and facilitate economic opportunity in vulnerable districts. To achieve this component, the project supported agricultural produce market reforms and livestock sector reforms across Punjab, Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and Balochistan provinces. The primary focus of the value chain development component is development of sales opportunities for private businesses in select value chains. The project liaises with government, primarily through the business enabling environment component, and works directly with local industry, as the private sector has the most potential to generate economic growth.
The project also supports sustainability in the tourism and mango industries, fisheries, and other targeted business sectors. In addition, the project implements the Malakand Revitalization Program, a comprehensive activity plan to revitalize economic growth in the conflict and flood-affected Malakand region of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province. Under this program, the project disbursed in-cash and in-kind grants to damaged hotels and fish farms in Swat to help revitalize the region’s once-vibrant tourism sector. The project has also rolled out a tourism promotion campaign for the region, targeting domestic and international tourists.
The Firms project has had a great deal of success in the mango industry. Under a cost-share agreement, the project has provided mango processing lines, blast chiller and cold storage equipment, de-sapping equipment, plastic harvest crates, water filtration plants, ethylene generators, and stand-by diesel generators to partner mango farmers. It has also provided assistance to farmers to achieve Global G.A.P certification. The project’s training program for the mango sector is designed to reach exporters, agriculture extension workers, and a greater mass of small farmers in rural Punjab and Sindh to improve orchard care and harvesting techniques. The project has also assisted in the participation of industry representatives in international fruit exhibitions and conducted buyer-seller conferences as part of its efforts to improve mango sales and create opportunities for employment.