Chinese technologies to empower Pakistani seed industry

Observer Report

China-Pakistan cooperation in seed, the “core” of agriculture, is high on the agenda as the CPEC enters the second phase to focus on agriculture cooperation and other sectors of social welfare, according to a report published by China Economic Net.

At the China-Pakistan Seed Industry Cooperation and Exchange Forum held last week, agricultural experts from China and Pakistan offered insights on how to further promote bilateral cooperation in the seed industry.

Dr Zhang Shengquan of the Beijing Academy of Agricultural and Forestry Sciences said, “In 2012, we carried out joint R&D on two-line hybrid wheat in Pakistan, and achieved an average increase of more than 20 % in wheat production, and last year, we brought that figure to 50% and even up to 70%.”

The potential of China’s hybrid wheat is emphasised by Shahzad Ali Malik, CEO of GUARD AGRI, during his interview with CEN.

GUAED AGRI was the first Pakistani agricultural company to introduce Chinese hybrid wheat, and despite the “challenge-laden” process, the company remains confident that Chinese hybrid wheat will help boost food production in Pakistan.

The reasons for limited wheat production in Pakistan include low yield potential of seed varieties, mismanagement, high temperature and drought, and severe rust damage, etc.

Drought-resistant and infertility-resistant traits of Chinese hybrid wheat make it a suitable variety to be introduced in Pakistan.

Dr Li Hui from the breeding team of the Hebei Academy of Agricultural and Forestry Sciences said that China’s Hebei, with its natural conditions similar to those of Pakistan, has been dedicated to the R&D of draught-resistant, water-saving wheat varieties to achieve replicably stable and huge production.

According to the report, nearly 30 water-saving wheat varieties bred by his team are expected to be introduced into Pakistan through the China-Pakistan Agricultural and Industrial Information Cooperation Platform.

Pakistan has long been a huge soybean importer, with its import volume increasing annually and consuming colossal foreign exchange reserves.

Dr. Irfan Afzal, associate professor at University of Agriculture, Faisalabad said that Pakistan began to cultivate soybean as early as 1960s.