ISLAMABAD: The United States will provide Rs 448 million ($5.2 million) in financial assistance to recover the flood-damaged tourism and fishing industries in Swat Valley. Both tourism and fisheries are mainstays of the Swat Valley’s economy and an important source of jobs and revenues. The two industries suffered significant damage during the floods.
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has begun awarding grants to Swat Valley hotels and trout farms and each grant will be tailored to the type and size of business, averaging $15,000 per hotel and farm.
“Thanks to USAID, I will start operating my farm soon to support myself and my family, and by the grace of God will be able to harvest my first trout next season,” said Mohammad Saeed, owner of New Spring Trout Fish Farm.
A total of 320 hotels and 31 fish farms will receive USAID grants by 2012. Entrepreneurs will be offered workshops to learn about the program and the application process. The grants are part of a larger USAID Swat Economic Recovery Program which provides funds for post-flood clean-up and reconstruction. The USAID plans to expand its financial assistance to other Swat Valley industries affected by the flood in the near future.-SANA