Australian water management expertise aids Pakistani agriculture

Posted 8 February 2017

Grain field in PakistanAustralia and Pakistan have ramped up efforts to boost agriculture and improve water management with a $15 million Water Program. 

When announcing the collaboration, Australian High Commissioner to Pakistan Margaret Adamson said the program would deliver on a number of levels. 

“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,” she said. 

“Australia has more than one thousand companies that can provide advice and technologies in this critical sector.”

The project aims to address technical, social, economic and policy issues that are hindering growth in Pakistan's agriculture sector. 

Australia's Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) has previously identified challenges for Pakistan's agricultural sector including water availability and salinity, cereal productivity, and crop diversification and management practices.

The Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United States reports that Pakistan can “barely store 30 days of water in the Indus Basin Irrigation System”.

Under the new Water Program, ACIAR will work with agriculture and livestock departments within Pakistan, the Pakistan Council for Water Research in Water Resources, Pakistan Agricultural Research Council and university research institutions. 

CSIRO will be working with Pakistan's Ministry of Water and Power to build the capabilities of Pakistani officials in water management best practice.

Meanwhile, a number of Australian universities will help implement three on-farm irrigation management projects aimed at developing a shared understanding of sustainable groundwater use for agriculture in Balochistan, Punjab and Sindh. 

The universities include the University of Queensland, University of South Queensland, University of Canberra and Charles Sturt University.