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Dr Munawar Razi Kazmi
BY GIO BRAIDOTTI
A CIAR's country manager for Pakistan is
Dr Munawar Raza Kazmi, a researcher
who formerly headed mango
production research at Pakistan's
Agricultural Research Centre (PARC). In 2005, Dr
Kazmi was invited to a workshop exploring the
possibility of Australian support for Pakistan's
mango industry through the Australia---Pakistan
Agriculture Sector Linkages Program (ASLP).
"My relationship with ACIAR started with the
invitation to lead the local team for the ASLP
mango project," Dr Kazmi says. The role quickly
grew, however, first to ASLP program officer,
then ASLP operations manager and now to
country manager based at the Australian High
Commission in Islamabad.
In his latest role, Dr Kazmi not only facilitates
agricultural R&D collaborations between
Australia and Pakistan, but is involved in myriad
other activities essential to the longstanding
A FLAIR FOR
THE BIG PICTURE
For example, he contributes to the design and
implementation of new projects, participates
in strategic processes about emerging local
needs, and also monitors issues that may affect
ACIAR's activities in Pakistan. Then there are
his tasks of briefing research managers and
senior management, as well as contributing to
communication with stakeholders.
"The journey from researcher to research
manager and then country manager has been
interesting and I like the experience of working
with an international agency," Dr Kazmi says.
"There is a strategic vision intrinsic to ACIAR's work
in Pakistan. My role is not to get lost in the details
of individual projects but to have oversight of the
overarching strategic goals."
Looking back over the years of partnership
between Pakistan and Australia, Dr Kazmi believes
it has highlighted the importance of the value-
chain approach (see, for example, the story on
"The projects span from the farm to the fork,"
he says. "It is a whole-system approach that
improves productivity relative to marketing
opportunities, encompassing social factors, such
as employment opportunities, with a special focus
on women and youth.
"What that means is that while the money spent
by ACIAR is smaller in comparison to many other
donors in Pakistan, the level of impact is far better."
Dr Kazmi attributes the ability to act so broadly
to the linkages ACIAR forges between, and
among, all the important stakeholders, with local
needs and settings respected, while exploring
new ideas and avenues for research.
"There are a number of benefits to Pakistan
from its relationship with ACIAR," he adds. "The
project-development process can be a learning
opportunity for Pakistan researchers, as the
process is very different from other donors.
Additionally, ACIAR's ASLP investment acted as
a precursor for further investment from other
donors, such as the Government of Pakistan."
He estimates that since its launch in 2006, ASLP
triggered public-sector investment in the form of
complementary projects amounting to
Rp 17,750 million (equivalent to A$178 million
in 2016 figures). These are projects that directly
support the objectives of ASLP.
Of all the innovations he has seen emerge from
the partnership, however, Dr Kazmi especially
values people's willingness to now talk about
issues that were once never considered. He cites
the example of fodder for dairy animals, which he
says everybody knew in principle to be important
for milk productivity, but no one took seriously.
"Post-harvest losses, value-chain approach,
disease-free nurseries---now all these things are
known even to farmers," he says. n
ABOUT DR KAZMI
Dr Kazmi completed a master's degree at the
University of Agriculture Faisalabad and a PhD
in plant pathology at Quaid-e-Azam University
Islamabad. He specialised in mango disease and
farmer training. Over 15 years as a research scientist
he published more than 40 peer-reviewed science
articles. Additionally, he is a trained facilitator and
has worked extensively on the farmer eld school
approach, collaborating with various national
organisations and also with international agencies in
Vietnam, Bangladesh and Kyrgyzstan.
MORE INFORMATION: Dr Munawar Kazmi,
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