Dr. Tallat Naseem Pasha, Vice Chancellor University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences,
Dean Dr. Waseem Ahmed
Director CAPRIL Dr. Rana Ayub
Faculty members and Management of the Center for Applied Policy Research in Livestock
Members of the Media and Distinguished Guests,
Thank you for the warm welcome.
Today is an important day for people who care about Pakistan’s livestock and dairy sectors. I am pleased to share the dais with some of the leaders in those fields, and to share this room with academics, researchers, students, and experts associated with livestock and dairy. We are here to inaugurate the new Center for Applied Policy Research in Livestock, funded by the United States Agency for International Development. The center is a key element in the United States’ strategy to help Pakistan develop its agricultural sector.
The United States recognizes that agriculture is a critical part of your overall economy and has great potential to generate employment. We are investing in support of that sector. In total, U.S. assistance has helped irrigate more than 480,000 acres of land. We have constructed over 250 kilometers of irrigation canals, and are now supporting development of 191,000 acres of irrigated land in tribal areas.
While those investments are important, so too are investments in ideas— in policy planning; and, in institutions that can help Pakistan’s agricultural and livestock sectors grow and become globally competitive. That is the purpose of this center. And, what better place to house a cutting-edge initiative to fuse research and policy making than one of the oldest veterinary institutions in South Asia—a place that for 130 years has been making history in its field. I believe the Center for Applied Policy Research in Livestock will enable the University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences to write many more chapters in its proud history.
This is the first policy research center in Pakistan to specialize in livestock and dairy and it will help ensure that new policies, regulations, and laws in those sectors are grounded in the latest scientific research, and are responsive to wider global trends in these fields. In other words, it will bring the best ideas from the laboratory and the classroom into the public policy arena, and thereby encourage economic growth, create jobs, spur investment, and increase exports—delivering clear benefits for farmers and agricultural businesses across Pakistan.
This center is a powerful tool for the policy maker and the businessman alike, but like any tool it will only be effective if fully and correctly utilized. In that respect we are lucky to be in Punjab, a province where the government has placed a high priority on policy innovation and on using the latest technology and policy concepts to fuel economic growth.
I commend the Government of Punjab’s efforts to address policy challenges by initiating legislative reforms and establishing new regulatory authorities. We are privileged to be working with a provincial government that is committed to innovation and to supporting private sector-led economic growth, both in agriculture, and in other vital areas. Because of that enabling environment, the United States Agency for International Development has supported a number of other initiatives in Punjab similar to the one we are inaugurating today.
Recently, USAID established the Center of Governance and Public Management at the Lahore University of Management Sciences to assist public institutions in providing services to the people in an efficient and transparent manner. USAID also partnered with Forman Christian College to establish the Public Policy Research and Resource Center, which is actively involved in a digitization initiative to collect, classify, and catalogue policy-related documents and reports that will serve as a central database for public policy research. These are but two examples of the ways in which we are helping our Pakistani partners to build bridges between the academy and government, that the ideas of the former might enrich the practice of the latter.
Alongside these efforts, the United States is partnering with the Government of Pakistan to promote trade between our two countries. During Prime Minister Sharif’s visit to Washington this past weekend, he and President Obama outlined an Augmented Joint Action Plan for Trade and Investment that paves the way for Pakistani companies—not just in the agricultural sector, but in all sectors—to have better access to U.S. markets.
I want to close by applauding the University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences; the Center for Applied Policy Research in Livestock faculty and staff members; and, the Punjab Enabling Environment Project team for helping to make this center possible. Through partnerships like this center, Pakistan will develop an internationally competitive agricultural economy. That will require time and effort, but every step, such as the one we are collectively taking today, is part of a transformative journey. Ultimately, our work is about supporting the people of Pakistan in their efforts to achieve a brighter future.
Thank you and Khuda Hafez