Australia will be used as a model for improving agricultural industries in developing nations after a recent tour of Tasmania by international researchers and government officials.
The group, from Myanmar, Vietnam and Pakistan toured Tasmania last month as part of the John Dillon Fellowship, with the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research.
They were in the state to learn about how Tasmanian primary producers, government and research institutions work together.
Dr Aamer Irshad, chief of the Food and Agriculture Planning Commission with the Pakistan government, said he would like to introduce a research and development levy in Pakistan to emulate the state of affairs in Tasmania.
“In Australia I learnt the model of research and development corporations, or research and development boards, that are working on many different commodities like dairy, horticulture and grain,” Dr Irshad said.
“In this system, the farmers are contributing some levies to such organisations and then the Australian government puts in money to co-finance that activity and that money is being used for the resolution of the current agricultural issues.
“I think this model is really good for Pakistan and I will try to develop this model.”
Tasmanian producers seen as ‘entrepreneurs’
Dr Irshad said agriculture was the largest part of Pakistan’s economy, yet the primary producers were not actively engaged with broader market issues.
“If you look at the economy of Pakistan, it largely comes from the agricultural sector,” he said.
“The Tasmanian farmers are really well informed about their businesses compared with Pakistani farmers.
“In Tasmania, I learnt that the farmers are not only farmers, they are like entrepreneurs.
“In Pakistan, mostly farmers do not know what is going on in the market, what the market signals are.”
Dr Irshad said a levy system could help boost declining investment in agricultural research.
“In Pakistan the government has been supporting the agriculture sector a lot,” he explained.
“But recently, because of the competing demands from other sectors of the economy, like the social sector, health, education, roads and communication, the government is facing shortages of money.
“So the government is unable to spare a lot of money for the agriculture sector.
“In such a situation, the agriculture growth rate is going down and has been suffering seriously.”
(By Margot Kelly, Source – http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-03-14/developing-countries-look-to-australia-as-model-for-agriculture/7245322)