Aussie High Commissioner in Pakistan Peter Heyward called for more strengthening ties in agriculture, trade and academia between both the countries in order to ensure food security, economic growth and to get benefit from each other’s experience.

At a Faisalabad university, accompanied by his wife Susan Heyward and Second Secretary Lachlan McLeod, he said that Pakistan’s agriculture sector could enhance its efficiency by getting experiences of Australia. Australia has been playing a significant role in enhancing productivity of dairy sector in Pakistan, he added. He pledged full support of his country in this regard.

Heyward also vowed to make an all-out effort to boost trade ties between the two countries, pledging its full support and technical assistance for Pakistan in Australian markets. “Pakistani mangoes have gained access to Australian market. By adopting the sanitary and phytosanitary measures, the other fruits, vegetable and community can be exported to Austria,” he added.

He said that various Australian organisations were partnered with Pakistani institutions to conduct research that could be translated into strengthening the agricultural policy of Pakistan. He said that under Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research’s Australia Pakistan Agriculture Sector Linkages Programme, various steps were being taken to flourish the agricultural sector in Pakistan especially in pro-poor value chains, enabling policy and agricultural capability.

He stressed a need for capacity building especially in the livestock management.

On the occasion, University of Agriculture Faisalabad Vice Chancellor Dr Iqrar Ahmad said that under the ACIAR programme, the UAF is partnered with Australia in mango, citrus, tomato and social research. He called for launching joint internship programmes so that the students can get benefit from each other’s experience. He said that UAF’s eight professors had completed their degree from Australia while 13 were perusing their degree there.

Addressing businessmen and industrialist at Faisalabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the HC said that Pakistan and Australia were already collaborating in education, energy, dairy and agriculture sectors while there was huge scope to further expand trade relations in these fields.

Mr Heyward said that Australian economy was basically service-oriented and its highly educated and professional manpower was playing its major role for the development of Australia.

Regarding exchange of trade delegations, he said that he would extend every possible facility to further expand trade ties between the two countries by encouraging Pakistani exporters and importers to regularly visit Australia.

He said that Pak-Australia Business Forum had already been established in Karachi while its Lahore office would become operational soon. The office will cater to the needs of the business community of Faisalabad, he added. He noted that a large number of Australian companies were already working in Pakistan and with the improvement of security conditions, more companies would come to invest and collaborate in mining, energy and other sectors. He said, “We will also feel pleasure in re-starting cricket series with Pakistan and Australia in near future.”

To a question, the Australian envoy said that GSP Plus was a big opportunity for Pakistan, and the exporters should fully capitalise it by ensuring their enhanced presence in Australian markets. He said, “No doubt, Pakistan is one of the major milk producing country; we will also cooperate with Pakistan in the development of dairy sector. Technology transfer will help Pakistan produce value added milk products like yogurt, cheese, ice cream etc and export the same to the Middle East countries.”

He said that cooperation between Australia and Pakistan in the fields of education and research has taken new turn and from next year Australian students will also come to Pakistan for their studies.

In his address, FCCI President Engr Suhail Bin Rashid said Pakistan and Australia had always enjoyed extremely cordial and friendly relations. The countries also share common perception about most of the international political and economic issues, he said and added that Australia’s cooperation and assistance in the fields of education , agriculture and vocational training is quite appreciable.