FAISALABAD - Pakistan and Australia’s strong relations in agricultural sector will help alleviate poverty from the country as majority of population in Pakistan is associated with the sector, said Australian High Commissioner Peter Heyward during his visit to University of Agriculture Faisalabad.

The HC said that there was a great potential in the livestock and agriculture sector of Pakistan. He added that Australia was already assisting Pakistan in enhancing the agricultural productivity in the form of various development and capacity building programmes in order to ensure the food security in the country.

He said that by strengthening the post harvest mechanism in Pakistan, agricultural productivity can be increased manifold. He said that student exchange programmes between both the countries will be increased to get benefit from each other’s experience.

He pledged to enhance the flow of scientists, researchers and students from both sides. He pointed out that the Australia has good techniques and practices that will be beneficial for Pakistan also. He said that the mutual cooperation would help get benefit from each other experience. He also called for stepping up efforts on the part of social scientists and extension workers to persuade the farming community to adopt latest practices.

He pointed out that keeping in view the challenges of changing climate; it is need of hour to expedite the efforts to provide nutritious food to the increasing population. He also stressed the need to enhance the role of women in the development of the country. He said the most of the farming community in Pakistan consists of small farmers. By equipping them with the modern tools and practices, the target of increased agricultural and poverty alleviation can be achieved. The HC also visited the citrus nursery, rosa lab, Monsanto Demonstration Plot and other parts of the varsity.

The high commissioner called on UAF deans and directors at the Syndicate Room. UAF Acting Vice Chancellor Dr Iqbal Zafar presented the welcome address while the Office of Research Innovation and Commercialization Director Dr Asif Ali also spoke.

Meanwhile, the HC was briefed that UAF was running various agricultural projects with Australian universities including University of Sydney, University of Charles Stuart, University of Queensland and others educational insinuations.

Under the projects, work on mango, citrus, wheat and cotton and other agricultural products is in full swing. As many as eight UAF staff members have completed PhDs  from Australia whereas 21 completed post doctorate degrees.