The Australian Government announces an AUD500,000 program to train around 4,000 smallholder farmers from Sheikhupura and Gujranwala, Punjab, to produce quality seed, improve crop yield and gain better access to the market.

The initiative is part of the Australian Government’s Business Partnership Platform support to Engro Corporation Limited Pakistan and Mennonite Economic Development Associates (MEDA) Australia and aims to connect around 4,000 smallholder farmers from villages in Sheikhupura and Gujranwala into a larger seed supply chain. The project will also train and support farmers to produce their own quality seed and register as seed suppliers.

The Australian High Commissioner to Pakistan, Margaret Adamson said that engaging with the private sector is the cornerstone of Australia’s modernised aid program in Pakistan, supporting economic growth, incomes and jobs.

"The partnership lays the foundation to enhance the livelihoods of smallholder farmers and enable them, for the first time, to become part of Pakistan’s large seed supply chain for rice, wheat and vegetable. It will also benefit from MEDA’s expertise as an international economic development organisation that creates business solutions to tackle poverty in developing regions around the world,” Ms Adamson said.

The Business Partnership Platform aims to accelerate Australia’s collaboration with businesses in addressing development challenges around the world. The platform recently expanded to include 19 private sector partnerships around the world with the conclusion of the second round of submissions.

Engro Corporation Limited is one of Pakistan’s largest corporations and works in a range of agriculture commodities including seeds, fertilizers and food.