AKRSP launched a livelihoods enhancement and protection programme which provides livestock packages, …

AKDN / Christopher Wilton-Steer

New default alt

Harvesting quality fruits like apricots and apples enables local residents like Hameeda to sell them at …

AKDN / Danial Shah

New default alt

Passive Solar Greenhouses have been one answer to the chronic malnutrition in the high valleys of the Pamir …


New default alt

At an AKF solar irrigation project in Skardu, Pakistan, solar-powered pumps that are partly financed by …

AKDN / Christopher Wilton-Steer


AKRSP supports local businesses such as this fruit processing facility through training and market …

AKDN / Christopher Wilton-Steer

languageSwitcherThis page is also available in

Pakistan | Agriculture and Food Security



Over 16,000 people a year use rural infrastructure built by the Aga Khan Foundation (AKF) or partners

Reforestation project supported by AKRSP in Hunza, Pakistan. Planting of poplar trees after irrigation channels were built transform the desert landscape. AKDN / Christopher Wilton-Steer
Reforestation project supported by AKRSP in Hunza, Pakistan. Planting of poplar trees after irrigation channels were built transform the desert landscape.

AKDN / Christopher Wilton-Steer


AKRSP’s challenge has been to create inclusive processes of development that diverse communities could participate in and sustain. Notable achievements include:

  • a significant increase in incomes (AKRSP contributed to the doubling of farm incomes in GBC between 1982 and 1992);

  • the construction of 164 bridges, 2,152 irrigation channels and 710 roads;

  • the introduction of hydro-electricity in remote areas through installing hundreds of mini-hydels, which between them generate 28 MW of energy;

  • the creation of thousands of savings groups;

  • the reclamation and cultivation of hundreds of hectares of degraded land; and

  • the mobilisation of 5,313 community organisations.

Our interventions have evolved according to the profound changes in social, political and economic conditions. To address the most pressing needs of the rural population and take advantage of emerging opportunities, we currently focus on:

  • strengthening local support organisations (LSOs) and community-level village and women’s organisations (V/WOs) with training and financial support so that they are better able to plan and manage social and economic development activities;

  • strengthening agricultural livelihoods by improving water management, diversifying farming systems and strengthening connections between agricultural suppliers, producers and processors;

  • generating non-farm employment and developing entrepreneurial skills through training and market development;

  • promoting financial inclusion through community-based savings groups; and

  • improving the availability and quality of small- and medium-scale infrastructure in order to strengthen livelihood opportunities and improve access to markets and social services.

AKRSP interventions have reached approximately 206,615 households.

Central Asia Poverty Programme

This programme addresses spatial poverty through the development of productive assets, including irrigation channels, greenhouses, animal sheds, storage facilities, roads and bridges, and energy.

Improving Rural Infrastructure

The Aga Khan Foundation (AKF) is building and enhancing critical infrastructure to support food security and critical supply chains. This includes cash-for-work initiatives and community support to repair and maintain irrigation channels, as well as build and improve rural roads.

Supporting Vulnerable Communities

AKF provides agricultural inputs to farming communities. These ensure they are able to harvest enough food to meet their consumption and long-term nutrition requirements while also earning a livelihood.

With small grants from AKRSP, these young women entrepreneurs set up beekeeping, floriculture, dairy and retail businesses. AKDN / Christopher Wilton-Steer
With small grants from AKRSP, these young women entrepreneurs set up beekeeping, floriculture, dairy and retail businesses.

AKDN / Christopher Wilton-Steer

Participatory Governance

LSOs are central to our approach to local participation. They play an important role in planning and implementing rural development activities in agriculture, non-farm enterprise, employment and infrastructure. So far 82 LSOs have been formed in GBC, with 4,196 member organisations.

They also help to mobilise matching funds from communities, which helps to ensure community ownership and sustainability of project activities.

New default alt
In Baltistan, Pakistan, a new irrigation channel supported by the Aga Khan Rural Support Programme is allowing farmers to irrigate this land and make it productive.

AKDN / Christopher Wilton-Steer

Natural Resource Management (NRM)

The majority of households in GBC remain dependent on agriculture for their income. AKRSP has played a central role in increasing productivity and improving marketing of local produce.

As a result of AKRSP, government and other development partners’ efforts, farm incomes in Gilgit-Baltistan and Chitral more than doubled between 2001 and 2008, while increased staple food crop production has resulted in greater food security for vulnerable populations.

AKRSP successfully implemented the Satpara Development Project’s Irrigation Master Plan, primarily in Skardu District. Under this programme, it worked to improve the management of irrigation water through 149 water user associations. The programme has helped farmers take advantage of more reliable irrigation water to diversify their agricultural production. It also trained farmers’ enterprise groups on new technologies and innovations, and helped them to connect with markets and agro-processors to secure higher prices for their crops.

Since intractable poverty remains a feature in the remote, mountainous programme area, AKRSP launched a livelihoods enhancement and protection programme in 2012. The initiative provides livestock packages, including training, to 662 particularly poor and vulnerable households. It is supported by the Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund.

Addressing Climate Change

Climate change is increasing the frequency and severity of natural disasters, and affecting factors such as water availability, vegetation cover and soil quality in already fragile mountain environments. Rural communities lack reliable access to electricity, and when electricity is accessed, it is often powered by fossil-fuel based energy sources which produce high levels of greenhouse gas emissions.

In response, AKRSP reduces carbon emissions from crop and livestock farming by piloting low-carbon agriculture practices, including solar-based irrigation systems, micro-irrigation devices, optimised fertiliser and water use and crop diversification.

The programme also establishes small-scale community-based energy generation solutions. These provide access to clean energy for domestic and commercial uses such as off-grid micro-hydel projects (under one megawatt), which are owned and managed by communities. In 2022, 3,000 people were using AKRSP’s clean energy infrastructure.

AKRSP has also planted tens of millions of trees.