“The Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) is promoting research in Pakistan in order to enhance selected value chains that benefit the rural poor through improved productivity market and employment opportunities,” Dr Barbara, team leader of ACIAR Pakistan, told Prof Dr Iqrar Ahmad Khan, the vice chancellor of the University of Agriculture, Faisalabad (UAF) on Tuesday.
She said the purpose of ACIAR’s initiatives was to support analysis that improves economic and natural resource management. She added that: “Building the capacity of government, private and civil sectors to service the needs of stakeholders has also been one of the main objectives.”
Dr Barbara said that it was revealed during a baseline survey of rural areas in Sindh and Punjab that the lack of credit facilities, availability of inputs and inappropriate marketing were the core issues faced by the farming community.
Prof Khan said that UAF’s social sciences faculty was involved in conducting surveys in order to provide solid ground to formulate policies at the federal and provincial levels. He added that a proposed policy centre at the UAF campus would become a milestone in creating a solid foundation for policy making. He was of the view that internationalisation was needed to enhance the standards of education and research at the institutional level.
Dr John Spriggs, who was part of the visiting delegation, informed Khan that a baseline survey was being conducted in a village in Sindh, targeting mango growers, while another survey was being conducted in Punjab targeting dairy farmers and citrus growers. He hoped that the results of these surveys would become a source of better understanding of the horticultural and dairy sectors in Pakistan.
Published in The Express Tribune