College of Agriculture & Natural Resources
Agricultural & Resource Economics

Influencers from Pakistan Visit UMD AREC

On Tuesday, Aug. 21, a group of high ranking officials from companies, non-government organizations, and the government of Pakistan visited the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics to learn more about the general function of cooperatives from Department Chair Lori Lynch. The meeting was facilitated by the International Programs In Agriculture & Natural Resources (IPAN) office of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

The six men and women who visited the University of Maryland are part of the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP), developed and funded by the U.S. Department of State. The program is considered a premier professional exchange program that allows emerging leaders from various countries and backgrounds to meet people from America with similar career interests and goals. This particular group was chosen due to their promising contributions in agricultural-related companies and organizations across different regions of Pakistan. This summer’s program is titled Developing Rural Communities Through Aggregation and Agriculture and will continue for three weeks across several states, including Washington, D.C., Maryland, Nebraska and Arkansas.

The objectives of this summer’s program are to support the development of agricultural cooperatives in order to improve farmers’ marketing power, support rural development activities and improve the capacity of rural communities through education of cooperation in agriculture. With this in mind, Dr. Lori Lynch outlined the USDA’s principles of cooperatives, the various types of business organizations, as well as the structure and development of cooperatives in a one hour presentation.

Each member of the group works in an agricultural-related organization and therefore has different ideas to contribute throughout the tour. One member of the group is a program coordinator for the Potohar Organization for Advocacy & Development (PODA), where she is in charge of agricultural management, seed bank management and team management for the group. Another participant serves as a Senior Social Organizer for the National Rural Support Program, mobilizing the community through management of training programs. Other positions held include director of coordination for a Pakistan-based agriculture exporting company, managing director for a development fund, monitoring officer for a technology-based company, and additionally a  commissioner for the city of Hyderabad.

For more information about the program, please visit

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