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Strengthening dairy value chains in Pakistan through improved farm management and more effective extension services

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 have agreed to undertake a second phase of ASLP, which started at the end of 2010 and lasted 5 years. It is taking place within value-chain frameworks and giving special attention to benefits for the poor and marginalised. The new project addresses three themes: 1) Testing and enhancing dairy extension approaches throughout Pakistan; 2) Research priority areas for enhancing milk production and quality from small-holder dairy farmers identified under LPS/2005/132; 3) Capacity building of dairy extension and industry staff to implement the improved dairy extension approaches.

Specific objectives under these themes, are: 1) To determine the most effective manner in which the extension approach from LPS/2005/132 can be scaled-out with a lower level of direct supervision to different areas of Pakistan; 2) To develop and promote strategies for optimizing feed resources for smallholder dairy farmers; 3) To identify and promote new profitable strategies for calf rearing; 4) To identify and develop strategies for improving smallholder profitability through milk opportunities that lead to a higher quality product; 5)To build the capacity of future and current extension and industry personnel driving the production and marketing of milk from the farm to the consumer.