QUETTA – Twenty thousand farmers in Balochistan would get benefit from the best practices adopted by Australian farmers in order to boost livestock and farming in the province, said Grant Stephen Vinning, international marketing specialist of Food and Agriculture Organisation on Friday.

He was addressing a ceremony organised by the FAO Balochistan Agriculture Project of FAO United Nations in collaboration with USAID to share the experience and knowledge of the Balochistan farmers who went to Australia as part of a study group. The study group comprising farmers, project staff and government officials belonging to Balochistan visited Cooma in southern New South Wales and Charleville in south west Queensland in Australia to examine  the sheep-and-wool value chain.  The farmers were selected from Baloch and Pashtun districts after clearing a test.

“Those either the project staff or the farmers who returned after spending three weeks with Australian farmers and agri-experts are now equipped to transfer their knowledge to over 20,000 farmers in Balochistan,” Grant said.

Balochistan Additional Chief Secretary Aslam Shakir Baloch, Livestock and Dairy Development Secretary Muhammad Naseem Lehari and Foreign Aid Planning and Development chief Zahid Saleem, International Program Manager David Doolan were also present at the event. Lauding the efforts of the FAO for the Balochistan farmers, the livestock secretary said that his department would get benefit from the experience of those who were returned after learning agriculture and livestock practices and techniques. Underlining the need for bringing reforms in livestock methods, he noted that about 50 percent of country’s livestock is in Balochistan.

“The trained farmers and project staff would be sent to other districts of province to educate local farmers on the latest techniques being practices by the Australian farmer,” he said adding the proposal of establishing of auction yards and grading centre is highly encouraging and Quetta trade and commerce authorities would be consulted for establishing it.

“I am happy to know about the success of the project and looking forward to get the services of project trainers to impart the skills,” he maintained. The farmers urged the officials in the agriculture and livestock department to establish auction yards and wool grading centers. “Drastic measures are required to improve livestock management practices,” They added. Farmers expressed that they were ready to share the best practices learnt during their tour to Australia in the management of sheep, shearing and use of modern equipment.