Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Oranges and mangoes – Pakistan farmers watch their investments grow

Success stories are arriving thick and fast from the Australia-Pakistan Agriculture Sector Linkages Program (ASLP), where farmers are putting training into practice to grow productive, disease-free plants.
Mr Afzaal in his greenhouse at Sultan nursery
Mr Afzaal from Punjab province and Dr Daud-Ur-Rehman from Khyber are two keen citrus growers who visited Australia to receive training in how to set up and run a successful nursery.

Thanks to the ASLP, these men learnt valuable skills in many aspects of commercial citrus production—including building protective sheds, using improved potting media, adopting better pruning practices and managing disease. On returning home and applying these skills, they are now reaping the benefits.

Dr Daud-Ur-Rehman inspecting citrus
saplings at Awan nursery
Mr  Warriach from Sargodha-Punjab has also gained new skills and changed his ways to improve production. He learnt how to best use available water to irrigate his citrus trees. As a result, he has stopped using the traditional method of flooding his 15-hectare orchard, and has switched to the more efficient method of furrow (trench) irrigation.

Mr Warriach digging furrows in his orchard
Mr Warriach has found the furrow technique uses only a fraction of the water: about 70-80% less than flooding. The time and cost of labour are also greatly reduced, since it takes less time to directly fill the furrows. He is delighted his trees are now much healthier; largely because the trunks are no longer in direct contact with water and citrus scab attacks have declined.

Mr Afzaal, Dr Daud-Ur-Rehman and Mr Warriach said the training was very worthwhile and will go a long way to improving the nursery sector and livelihoods of citrus growers in Pakistan.

Through this type of work, the ASLP is helping build the capacity of many citrus, mango and dairy smallholder farmers so they can achieve better returns for their families and communities.

By Dr Wendy Henderson (ACIAR Communications) and  Dr Munawar Kazmi (ASLP Operations Manager, Pakistan)

More information:
The Australia-Pakistan Agriculture Sector Linkages Program is a collaboration between many Australian and Pakistan institutions, funded by the Australian Government.

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