Two roundtables held in Lahore and Karachi during October discussed the development of the dairy industry as a vital pillar of Pakistan’s modern agribusiness sector.
The roundtables – run jointly by the Australian Trade and Investment Commission, Austrade, the Pakistan Australia Business Forum and the Australian HighCommission – brought together stakeholders from universities, private diaries, farmer associations, feed importers and government to identify ways Pakistan can benefit from Australian expertise and experience in the dairy field.
The Australian High Commissioner to Pakistan, Margaret Adamson, who spoke at both roundtables, said: “The strong participation and constructive ideas from the private sector were a good indicator of interest that will hopefully convert into concrete steps and momentum.”
Australian dairy export Peter Younis, of The Vet Group, spoke about different ways in which the sector could be developed in Pakistan. He identified three priority areas – namely training, improved genetics, and nutritional management.
The Austrade Senior Trade and Investment Commissioner for South Asia, Leonie Muldoon, moderated the discussions and helped capture suggestions and observations under the headings of Priority Areas, Funding, Timeline, Location, and possible delivery model.
She also discussed the concept of a Dairy Centre of Excellence (COE) which could be established to address the needs of the sector in Pakistan. She emphasized that the COE will only be effective if it has buy-in from the industry and is able to deliver outcomes desired by the industry.
Austrade will launch a Reference Group to put the ideas discussed into a framework that can be picked up by the private sector and government at the federal or provincial levels in Pakistan.
Given Australia’s engagement in the dairy space – with more than 200,000 heifers in Pakistan sourced from Australia since 2007, or descended from Australian heifers, Australian cows are the backbone of the corporate dairy sector in the country.
It is Austrade’s contention that Australia is well-positioned to package up its expertise in genetics, fodder and nutrition, training curriculum and general management and consultancy in the dairy production value chain via a COE. The COE would serve as a hub for the sector to interact with Australian equipment, technology, services and education in dairy farming and management.
Pervez H. Madraswala, Chairman, Pakistan Australia Business Forum (PABF), said: “I am very pleased with these two roundtables, both of which were oversubscribed. This is an acknowledgment that the industry wants to grow and address areas of concern. PABF will aim to conduct similar targeted activities to address issues where Australia can help Pakistan in growing its agribusiness sector.”