USAID - Pakistan Strategy Support Programme joint collaboration 

USAID - Pakistan Strategy Support Programme joint collaboration 

ISLAMABAD: (APP) The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has helped Pakistan strengthen its institutional capacity and policy making by fostering evidence-based decision-making on public policy issues.

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USAID partnered with the International Food Policy Research Institute from July 2011 to July 2016 on the Pakistan Strategy Support Program, said a press release issued here Wednesday.

Working with the Ministry of Planning, Reforms and Development they shaped a policy research agenda for Pakistan to achieve economic growth and reduce poverty.

“The objective of this project was to help government leaders design and implement evidence-based policy reforms and to encourage public investments in agriculture," Mission Director USAID John Groarke said.

"Some of the successes of the program include developing a new agricultural seed law, charting pathways to reform fertilizer subsidies, reforming the national water policy, and refining poverty measurements," he added.

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Under this program, USAID also awarded 71 competitive grants to Pakistani researchers to work the Government of Pakistan's development objectives including those under Vision 2025.

These grants resulted in four PhD dissertations, 16 Journal Articles and 23 Working Papers.  More publications are in process even after the closing of the USAID project.

Some of the awardees notably influenced policy.  A study on medicinal and aromatic plants led to a new chapter in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Forest Act of 2011 that regulates collection and harvesting of medicinal and aromatic plants without harming the ecosystem.

Additionally, several surveys, including the Pakistan Rural Household Panel and Production Surveys, the Pakistan Cotton Production Survey, and the Migration Tracking Survey provided data that will aid the policy makers for drafting future policies.

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Dr. Nadeem Amjad, the Chairman of the Pakistan Agriculture Research Council stated, "The Pakistan Agricultural Research Council (PARC) acknowledges the efforts of the USAID in promoting agricultural research in Pakistan through its various programs.

We especially appreciate USAID's support through Pakistan Strategy Support Program for the Independent Third Party Evaluation of PARC in 2012 that resulted in many institutional reforms and a business plan, which has led to efficient allocation of resources and better monitoring systems at PARC."

Through Pakistan Strategy Support Program, USAID also developed programs and modules to train more than 900 government and academicians on economic modeling and simulation techniques; geographic information systems; data analysis; poverty mapping; and monitoring, evaluation, and survey techniques.