Australia has worked with Pakistan to complete Phase I of the the Agricultural Sector Linkages Program (ASLP) dairy project (LPS/2005/132, Improving dairy production in Pakistan through improved extension services). The project demonstrated the potential to improve the profitability of smallholder dairy farmers through piloting of new extension approaches and materials. Of the 250 pilot farmers, more than 30% made relatively simple improvements to their management practices, such as providing free access to water for their animals throughout the day (this practice alone leads to increases in milk production of approximately 1.5 l/day, reductions in health-related issues and significant reductions in labour inputs).
Based on the effective linkages and good prospects for further technical progress resulting from ASLP, and the opportunity for further strengthening benefit flows to the rural poor, Australia and Pakistan agreed to undertake a second phase of ASLP, which started at the end of 2010 and lasted 5 years. It took place within value-chain frameworks and gave special attention to benefits for the poor and marginalised.
The new project addressed three themes:
- Testing and enhancing dairy extension approaches throughout Pakistan;
- Research priority areas for enhancing milk production and quality from small-holder dairy farmers identified under LPS/2005/132;
- Capacity building of dairy extension and industry staff to implement the improved dairy extension approaches.