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Australian experts to evaluate mango, citrus orchards

LAHORE: Two delegations of Australian consultants will visit Pakistan in November this year to evaluate the ongoing citrus and mango projects under the Agriculture Sector Linkages Programme (ASLP), a joint venture for promoting the farm sector by the governments of Pakistan and Australia.

The consultants will be visiting mango and citrus orchards during their two-week stay. Consultants for the mango sector will be visiting Karachi, Hyderabad, Multan and other mango growing areas and consultants for the citrus sector will be visiting Bhalwal and the NWFP citrus growing areas, sources revealed to The News on Tuesday.

The consultants would also be visiting Lahore for a meeting with Pakistan Horticulture Development and Export Board (PHDEB) to discuss the impact of various ongoing projects and impediments faced by the authorities while implementing the programme, sources revealed.

They said that consultants for the citrus project would comprise five members who are experts from the New South Wales Department of Primary Industry in Australia. The consultants would also discuss the ongoing ‘Increasing Citrus Project through Improved Orchard Management Techniques’.

These consultants would provide know-how on methods to extend the harvest season of citrus fruit in Pakistan by introducing new varieties which are grown by Australian farmers throughout the year.

The consultants would also introduce optimal irrigation practices as Pakistani farmers are believed to over irrigate their orchards which reduce harvests.

The consultants would also discuss various proposals for the development of agriculture industry through public-private sector partnership programmes.

The sources said that an expert in the nursery sector would brief local farmers on how to manage their orchards and how to improve the harvest of new orchards.

Consultants for the mango sector would also consist of 5 members from diverse fields of the Australian agriculture sector and would discuss the ongoing project on ‘Optimising Mango Supply Chain for a more Profitable Horticultural and Agri-Enterprise.’

Three research consultants among this group are from the University of Queensland and one each from the Department of Primary Industry Queensland and the Western Australia Department of Agriculture and Food.

The consultants would further discuss ongoing projects and ways to further improve exports of Pakistani mangoes.

The consultants would also share with farmer’s results and experiences during the current mango export season. Currently, Australia is assisting Pakistan under the Agriculture Sector Linkages Programme (ASLP) to overcome certain constraints in Pakistan’s agriculture exports sector.

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