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Australia and Pakistan forge new links in agriculture.

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Australia and Pakistan forge new links in agriculture 16 June 2005

Minister for Foreign Affairs, Alexander Downer and Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Warren Truss today announced an Australia-Pakistan Agriculture Linkages Program worth $6.6 million to be implemented over the next four years.

Mr Downer said the program will expand the links between the agricultural sectors in Australia and Pakistan to facilitate a greater exchange of expertise and foster new commercial opportunities.

‘The program will help forge new academic, agricultural and market linkages to produce an increase in the productivity and sustainability of agriculture in both countries,’ Mr Downer said.

‘Australia's assistance for the new Agriculture Linkages Program will be funded through AusAID and administered across several agencies under a whole-of-government approach.

‘AusAID will deliver the Academic Linkages through seven new AusAID Australian Development Scholarships. These will be provided to Pakistani postgraduate students to study agriculture in Australia.

‘These scholarships are in addition to the fifteen post graduate scholarships provided annually by the Australian Government for the study of governance, natural resource management, education and health,’ Mr Downer said.

Mr Truss said the Agricultural Linkages Program between research institutions will be co-ordinated by the Australian Centre for International Agriculture Research (ACIAR).

‘Through ACIAR, the Program will enhance existing links with a new program of technical exchanges and economic research and development projects. This includes staff exchanges, targeted seminars, scoping studies, small projects and research and analytical activities,’ Mr Truss said.

‘Austrade will facilitate the market linkages program between commercial institutions in both countries. A consortium of Australian companies will travel to Pakistan on a feasibility mission to identify market opportunities and forge links that will enhance trade.

‘The program advances Australia’s strategy to create ‘clever linkages’ which recognise Pakistan’s agricultural sophistication. This strategy continues the move away from standalone aid projects in pursuit of enduring linkages between institutions that benefit both countries,’ Mr Truss said.

Media inquiries: Chris Kenny (Mr Downer’s office) 0419 206 890 Kylie Butler (Mr Truss’ office) 0417 652 488

AusAID (Public Affairs) 0417 680 590