ISLAMABAD - Australia will provide Rs1.2 billion to enhance agriculture research, development and extension system to deliver practical research outputs to agribusiness and farmers. This information was provided by Australian High Commission at a reception on the launch of next phase of the Agriculture Sector Linkages Program (ASLP) in Pakistan. Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Centre for International Agriculture Research (ACIAR) Dr Nick Austin was also present on the occasion.
Addressing the reception, Australian High Commissioner, Tim George said, “ACIAR’s work, including ASLP, is a key component of Australia’s growing engagement with Pakistan. As a leading agriculture exporter, with world-class expertise in agricultural research, we see great scope to cooperate to build Pakistan’s agricultural capacity.” The partnership in the agriculture sector between both the countries has grown during the last few years. ASLP Phase I, operated from 2005-10, and was successful in increasing the transfer of technical knowledge between Australian and Pakistani scientists to underpin the ongoing transformation of Pakistan’s mango, citrus and dairy industries.
ACIAR CEO, Dr Nick Austin, said it was his first visit to the country and was impressed by the huge potential in agriculture. “Pakistan’s farmers face many challenges and it is critical that we continue our collaboration. ASLP Phase II has the potential to change the lives of farmers across Pakistan, and I look forward to working with government, academic institutions, and farmers, to make a real difference to Pakistan’s agriculture sector”, he added.
ASLP Phase II will build linkages between agricultural sectors of Australia and Pakistan in order to improve the livelihood of rural poor in Pakistan. The programme will contribute a total $AU 12.95 million or Rs1.2 billion, over four years to agricultural research in Pakistan. Its goal is to enhance ability of Pakistan’s research, development and extension system to deliver targeted and practical research outputs to agribusiness and farmers.