The Australia-Pakistan Agriculture Sector Linkages Program (ASLP) Phase 2 Showcased

Founder Editor Tazeen Akhtar..

Islamabad (Staff Reporter)The contribution of Australian government in agriculture sector towards alleviation of rural poverty through agricultural productivity enhancement, livestock sector boost and water resources management is noteworthy, this was stated by Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research Sikandar Hayat Khan Bosan while addressing at the event titled “Showcasing ASLP Phase-II”.

The minister further added that water management through furrow irrigation system, disease free nurseries, development of comprehensive orchard management protocols, pre-embryonic mango variety import, identification of new markets and development of improved post harvest practices are the efforts that have contributed much towards mango and citrus production.

Minister Bosan highlighted that annual production of mango is around 1 million ton and exports value around $ 20 million per annum. The minister identified poor orchard and nursery practices, irrigation management, inadequate pest and disease control strategies, post harvest losses and lack of cold storage facilities as key constraints.

The minister reiterated that government has outlined dairy sectors as one of the prime sectors, it is planned to increase milk production, encourage processed milk and improve quality and profitability of small farmers through marketing and increased milk production.

The Australia-Pakistan Agriculture Sector Linkages Program (ASLP) was launched in 2006 with a budget of $6.6 million aimed to transfer knowledge and expertise, poverty alleviation, research, development and agricultural extension. After successful completion of first phase, it was extended for further five years. In phase II, the prime focus was on mango, dairy and citrus sector.

ASLP has three synergistic components that focus on pro-poor value chains, agricultural capability and enabling agriculture policy. ASLP has more than 27 active partners that include public sector institutions, universities and private commercial operations. Direct participants include around 1500 dairy farmers and more than 350 growers.

Ms Magaret Adamson, the Australian High Commissioner threw light on Australian government’s strategy. She stated that poverty alleviation, water resource management, fisheries, agriculture best practices, market system development, governance and technology up gradation are the key areas of interest in Pakistan. She highlighted that 72% of the working women are associated with agriculture, that’s why Australia stresses on engagement of women in economic development. 

In the end, the minister stated that he is hopeful that AVCCR would continue the good work initiated by ASLP. The Agriculture Value Chain Collaborative Research Program (AVCCR) proposal has been developed with indicative budget of $10 million and is awaiting final approval.