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Australia announces US$13 million commitment to fund Balochistan agricultural project

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Islamabad, April 17, 2013 (PPI-OT): The Australian High Commissioner to Pakistan Peter Heyward today announced a 4 year US$13 million commitment to fund an agricultural development project in six remote western districts of Balochistan. Mr Heyward made the announcement in Karachi on the eve of the annual “2013 Australia Day in Spring” reception. He was accompanied by the Representative of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) Kevin Gallagher. FAO will implement the project. “I am delighted to be announcing this major development project in the agriculture sector in Balochistan,” Mr Heyward said.

The Australian Assistance to the Balochistan Border Areas (AusABBA) project has been developed by the FAO in conjunction with the Government of Pakistan, Balochistan Provincial Government and AusAID and builds on the USAID Balochistan Agriculture Project (BAP) that has been operating for the past eight years in the northern districts of the province. AusABBA aims to contribute to poverty reduction through improving food and nutrition security and increasing income generation for the poor, using participatory approaches to community development, improved agricultural productivity and market linkages.

“The AusAID funding that I am announcing today will enable this successful model of agricultural assistance to expand to six new districts in Chagai, Kech, Kharan, Nushki, Panjgur and Washuk,” Mr Heyward said. As part of the USAID Balochistan Agricultural Project, a group of 15 men and women farmers from the province visited Australia in January this year for a sheep and wool tour.

It focused on training in sheep management, shearing and wool handling with the aim of boosting the farm incomes in Balochistan. An exhibition of photographs from the sheep and wool tour will be shown at the 2013 Australia Day in Spring reception.

“I commend the commitment and dedication of FAO and USAID over the past eight years of the project, and I am delighted that Australia can join them in extending the project,” he said. “It is a great example of Australia-US-Pakistan cooperation in agriculture.” An exhibition of photographs from the sheep and wool mission will be shown at the Australia Day in Spring reception.

For more information, contact:
Melissa Kelly
Australian High Commission
Constitution Ave and Ispahani Rd,
Diplomatic Enclave No. 1, Sector G-5/4, Islamabad
Tel: +9251 835 5500, 051 8355346
Fax: +9251 282 0112

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