ISLAMABAD – Australia has launched a $15 million water management programme to improve water management and boost agricultural productivity in Pakistan.
Australian High Commissioner to Pakistan Margaret Adamson and Federal Minister for Science and Technology Rana Tanveer Hussain launched the programme in the capital city on Tuesday.
With a grant of 15 million Australian dollars, Australia wants to continue longstanding bilateral collaboration on building capacity to improve water management and boost agricultural productivity in Pakistan.
The Australian Government’s Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) is working with federal and provincial agriculture and livestock departments, the Pakistan Council for Water Research in Water Resources (PCRWR), Pakistan Agricultural Research Council (PARC) and university research institutions to address technical, social, economic and policy constraints hindering growth in the agriculture sector.
High Commissioner Adamson noted that her country has supported agricultural research in Pakistan since the 1980s. “Our continued support through Australian expertise will help Pakistan to build an innovation-based agriculture sector through targeted public investment not only to boost agriculture profitability but most importantly to ensure food security”, Ms Adamson said. “Australia has more than one thousand companies which can provide advice and technologies in this critical sector.”
The programme will also encourage advocacy by the Pakistan Government, technical experts and civil society to advocate for effective water resource management and support the Government’s efforts towards the development of the National Water Commission and National Water Policy.
“Cooperation in water management is a significant and increasing dimension of our bilateral relationship. The Water Programme provides further opportunities for facilitating knowledge exchange between our countries in this vitally important sector.” Ms Adamson said.
The water programme includes the Australian Government’s 12-year Indus Sustainable Development Investment Portfolio (SDIP) which is mapping the current and future needs of the Indus Basin. Australian scientists from the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) are working with the Ministry of Water and Power to build the capacity of Pakistan’s water managers in efficient water management.
The Programme also includes three farm-level projects implemented by ACIAR to improve groundwater management in agriculture.