ARAB NEWS: White House supports calls for OPEC+ oil price increases: Reuters

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ARAB NEWS: – Agritech entrepreneurs establish ‘digital desa’ in the heart of Pakistan’s remote farming region

ISLAMABAD – A group of young entrepreneurs from Pakistan has launched Digital Dera , an initiative that aims to empower farmers and create smart villages.

While announcing earlier this month that Pakistani startups had raised an early $305million in global investment in 2021, Commerce, Abdul Razak Dawood, Adviser to Pakistan, urged Pakistani entrepreneurs not to forget agritech. This is technology used to increase the productivity and output of agricultural production.

Tazah Technologies, a Pakistani-based business-to-business agricultural marketplace, was launched two months ago to provide innovative supply chains solutions for the agricultural sector. This month, Tazah Technologies raised $2 million in a preseed round led jointly by Global Founders Capital (Zayn Capital)

Digital Dera or smart village has been established in village Chak 26-SP, Pakpattan , Pakistan’s largest province and its farming heartland. It currently provides services to more then 2,000 farmers from the area. The founders of the initiative said that they plan to expand their network by opening sub-offices in other areas.

This project is a collaboration between Agriculture Republic and Internet Society. It is supported by Hayat Farms Pakpattan and Accountability Lab, as well as the Pakistan Telecommunication Co. Ltd. (the largest telecommunications provider of Pakistan).

“We brought high-speed internet from the capital all the way to remote areas, rural, and agriculturally dense regions of the country, and established a Digital Dera on October 2 with a technological ecosystem comparable to any city,” Fouad Riza Bajwa, cofounder of Digital Dera, said to Arab News.

“This environment allows farmers, youth, women, and others to have free access to information and data about agriculture and agricultural innovations.”

) Aamer Hayat Bhhandara, a Pakpattan-based young farmer, co-founded Digital Dera along with Bajwa. He said that one of the key components of the project was the availability of experts from the Agriculture Republic to help farmers and provide information. They also connected them through Zoom, Skype, and other platforms.

He said, “We provide digital and online tools to increase crop yield, smart-manage farms, and promote agricultural products to the rest of the world from the heartland of Pakistan’s rural centre. ”

“We will be starting weekly training sessions, and one day we will have women-only sessions.” This project will also be a digital hub that organizes awareness and capacity-building workshops to educate small farmers and youth about precision agriculture, food safety, and climate change policies.

Arab News spoke with Dr. Mohammed Anjum Ali who is the director-general of agriculture in Punjab. He said that Digital Dera was a first startup to offer farmers a physical space and round-the-clock advice by agritech specialists.

“This is a private sector initiative. He said that although it was in an area without internet, it was very fertile and yielded high-value crops. We hoped to collaborate with them and plan to launch similar initiatives in other parts.”

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Waqar Ahmed is the general manager of digital services at Pakistan Telecommunication Co. Ltd. He said that the company decided to offer backend and internet services to the startup to help farmers increase their productivity.

“We will work with similar initiatives to expand the reach of internet-based solutions for farmers. Arab News spoke out about Ahmed’s goal to bring information closer to farmers.

Nadeem Nasir, spokesperson for Ignite (a national technology fund that supports startups in Pakistan), said that Digital Dera is unique because they have established a digital hub in the middle of a farming community. )

Nasir stated that the center could be beneficial to other agritech startups. They can use this space for education and training farmers about their applications.”

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