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The Agronomic Institute for Overseas (IAO) works in Pakistan, more precisely in Swat Valley, since 2010 with the aim of improving the living standard of the local population, economically and socially.

Currently the ongoing Project in Swat is "Gender Cooperatives and Hill Orchards"(ADP - Swat 2). It aims to improve the living conditions of the involved families, promote the better governance and increase the links between the institutions and the rural communities.

The first cooperation project "Technical assistance and support to small producers of vegetables Swat Valley (Pakistan) for the improvement of production and marketing in the context of fruit and vegetable industry" (ADP SWAT 1) ended the 31th December 2013, aimed to rationalize and modernize the fruit and the vegetable industry.

The initiatives carried out by the IAO are funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) / Directorate General for Development Cooperation. 



The Italian development Project titled: "Technical assistance and support to fruit and vegetable growers in the Swat Valley (Pakistan) for the improvement of production and marketing in the horticultural value chain" has successfully accomplished its activities, by providing continuous technical support to the rural population of the Swat District of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province.

The closing ceremony was held at Islamabad Serena Hotel last November 20th in the presence of a large number of Authorities in representation of private and public Italian and Pakistani Institutions.


The main purpose of the initiative was the income generating mechanism in favor of small farmer's households, by supporting them all along the productive value-chain, from farm to fork: handling, grading, storing, processing, packaging and marketing, and to promote gender-oriented social and economic inclusion in the area: being the Swat District an agriculture based area, its fruit and vegetable production has always been the main source of livelihoods for its population.


The Project was planned and proposed to assist the recovery of the agricultural sector, severely affected with huge post-harvest losses (above 40% of the total District production) due to both the militancy (that determines a 2.2 M Swat inhabitants to be internally displaced) and the catastrophic natural disaster of the 2010 flood that, even more, has further added to worsening distress and the dire socio-economic conditions of the local population.


The Project  has been funded, as a grant, by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and implemented by the Istituto Agronomico per l'Oltremare, a technical assistance body of the said Italian Ministry based in Florence, and active in the field of agricultural sciences and technology transfer.


The allocated budget was 1.35 M Euro to execute the following activities:


  • Technical assistance to small farmers by local and Italian expertise and through two technical study tours carried out in selected scientific Instances in Italy;

  • Agricultural training, by means of Farm Field Schooling and Traditional classes;

  • Procurement and supply of two processing plants, vehicles and necessary know-how;

  • Rehabilitation of the existing agricultural offices in the tehsils of Matta and Kabal (Swat District);

  • Empowerment of rural cooperatives, business management and micro-finance knowledge;

  • Socio-Economic survey about the area of intervention;

  • Production and editing of an Atlas of the natural resources through the Geographical Information System tools;


During its operational phase, since the late 2010, the Project has reached directly more than 5000 beneficiaries with its facilities being a reference for a growing farming Community of thousands of individuals, with a significant trickle-down effect on their poverty affected households.


During its 3 years of activities, the Project has closely worked with representatives of the Private and Public sectors of both Pakistan and Italy, including strong partnership with the Agricultural University of Peshawar.


This participatory and opportunity-led approach has guaranteed a major social inclusion at community level and the strengthening of the local governance that are the premises for a sustainable development of the area.


This project is part of a major program in support of the Swat Valley and the KP Province, where major undertakings financed by the Italian Government in the domains of cultural heritage conservation, natural disasters preparedness and management, recovery and direct cash assistance, food security, local development and agriculture development are blending to feature a comprehensive scheme in support to the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Pakistan economies. Italy supports Pakistan with a portfolio of action projects based on grants, soft-loans and multilateral-executed technical assistance and aid schemes.




Delivery of the material for harvesting and packaging of the fruit

The tools that will be used for the harvest, the storage and the packaging of the fruit were  handed over to Matta and Kabal FSCs. The beneficiaries were provided with plastic boxes for the harvest and storage of fruit, different kinds of packaging for marketing purposes, gloves and overalls.

The goal is to promote the products of the Swat Valley, through an appealing packaging and  making them easily recognisable to customers.




Publication of new documents in the download section of the site

In the download section of the website, since today, the technical documents made by the technical staff of the project and finalized during the consultancy of Dr. Bonaiuti, are finally available. These documents (previously shared and approved by the counterparts) will better regulate the fruit-culture production system: from farm to fork. They are the first step towards the registration of a quality mark for the products coming from Swat Valley and for their presentation at the upcoming “Salone internazionale del Gusto di Torino”. This event will promote these products , hopefully opening  new market opportunities for the Project beneficiaries.

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The Agronomic Institute for Overseas (IAO) works in Pakistan, more
Delivery of the material for harvesting and packaging of the fruit
The tools that will be used for the harvest, the storage and the

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