Project final report
Potential of new Australian oldman saltbush varieties to fill ruminant feed-gaps in arid and saline areas of Pakistan - final report
The aim of this scoping study was to explore the opportunity to improve the livelihoods of smallholders in arid and saline areas of Pakistan through the introduction of the AnamekaTM old man saltbush varieties (the original clones and selected seed lines) from Australia.
Small ruminant production is a major source of income to smallholders in the irrigated, rain fed and semi-arid areas of Pakistan. Like much of southern Australia, one of the major constraints to ruminant production is the pattern and scarcity of rainfall, leading to seasonal nutrient gaps. Salinity and shallow water-tables are additional threats to agriculture in southern Australia and Pakistan (where it is estimated that 25% of irrigated land is impacted by salinity). Drought- and salt-tolerant perennial shrubs from the Chenopodiaceae family, such as saltbushes (Atriplex spp.), offer an opportunity to use land and water resources that are too saline or arid for traditional crops and forages. Saltbushes can play a critical role within livestock systems as a dietary complement to poor-quality crop residues. Previous Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) funded research has demonstrated that several saltbush species can persist in saline soils in Pakistan.
We have assessed the outcomes of previous saltbush introductions, investigated the various roles of saltbush within farming systems and identified researchers and NGO’s within Pakistan who could partner in future saltbush evaluation and extension activities. The opportunity for women to lead saltbush propagation businesses was considered. Our final aim was to seek to link saltbush seed, propagation and machinery businesses in Australia with counterparts in Pakistan.