Special topics relevant to fighting Covid-19 have been included in the farmer field school sessions. The field schools are a major tool for transferring knowledge to rural smallholder farmers where local farmers learn about climate resilient and modern agricultural practices, innovation, basic entrepreneurship skills and develop their linkages with markets, the FAO said in a press release on Tuesday.

FAO teams were conducting regular online awareness sessions with local farmers, agriculture and livestock workers and technicians to help them understand how farmers could help curtail the spread of the virus by adopting practices such as hand washing, physical distancing and other precautions.

The impacts of the virus outbreak resulted in the disruption of food supply chains, gaps in farming inputs and unemployment. The FAO implementation and operations continue in the field, with the organisation reaching out to the farmers and those most vulnerable to these shocks. Safety of vulnerable populations, careful planning and social safeguarding measures while delivering the support remains the utmost priority.

Through the farmer field schools, the FAO has continued to raise awareness about preventive health and hygiene practices. During these activities hands-on, participatory learning was applied to demonstrate the best practices which would help these local communities protect themselves against Covid-19 infections. Practical demonstrations have helped the local communities, which lack access to information, understand various preventive measures.

In Pakistan, the FAO is spearheading action to keep the food chains running in the face of Covid-19 pandemic. In addition to the policy and technical support being provided to the Ministry of National Food Security and Research and provincial governments, the FAO is working with the government and other partners to help strengthen resilience by contributing to national efforts to curb the transmission of the virus.

Over 81,000 most vulnerable people, both men and women, have been directly engaged through frontline workers to help the communities protect against Covid-19.

Meanwhile, Pakistan’s agricultural response to Covid-19 outlook was presented to the diplomatic community at FAO headquarters in Rome on Tuesday. The meeting focused on the coronavirus disease, and examined best practices and country examples of FAO work to help mitigate the pandemic’s damage to people’s lives and livelihoods.