The US embassy and the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Planning and Development Department (P&D) celebrated the successful completion of a crop control and area development project, worth $4.2 million, that benefited more than 4,500 families of Bajaur, Khyber and Mohmand districts. At the same event, the partners celebrated the launch of a new project worth $1.3 million that will benefit farming communities from the Torghar district, said a statement issued on Tuesday. Director of the US Embassy’s International Narcotics and Law Enforcement (INL) team Mark Tervakoski and Director General of P&D Muhammad Bakhtiar Khan chaired the ceremony. With the US government’s funding, the KP government built 21 kilometres of roads, 31 irrigation channels, and 18 drinking water supply systems, and gave 350 farmers high value crop seeds and training to cultivate more than 1,733 acres of land with lucrative legal crops in lieu of illegal ones. The new roads gave law enforcement access to the rural communities, and those communities gained access to markets to sell their legal crops, hospitals to care for their sick, and schools for their children, said the statement. Speaking on the occasion, Bakhtiar said that the KP government highly values the long-term partnership with and commitment of INL towards eradicating illicit crops and providing alternate sources of livelihoods in the tribal districts of Khyber, Mohmand, and Bajaur. He said that the project successfully replaced poppy cultivation with more socially acceptable crops yielding greater income. He said that due to INL’s assistance, the provincial government was able to construct roads to formerly inaccessible areas, develop water sources for drinking and irrigation, and train farmers to increase yields. He expressed appreciation for the collaboration with the United States to bring sustainable “change to the lives of the targeted communities.” During the ceremony, INL Director Tervakoski recognised the long-standing and strong partnership between the US and KP governments to curb illegal crop production in the province.