The production of wheat, Pakistan’s most important crop, is expected to rise with Sino-Pak cooperation, according to China’s Yunnan Academy of Agricultural Sciences (YAAS).
“Yunnan and Pakistan have similarities in climate, wheat variety characteristics, cultivation conditions, meanwhile confronted with shared challenges including stripe rust, drought, high temperature, etc. Therefore, both wheat varieties and technologies can be directly applied to each other,” Luo Yanjie, Head of YAAS International Cooperation Division, told CEN.
Pakistan is world’s eighth largest producer of wheat. Last year it produced more than 27 million tonnes of wheat, despite having one of the lowest per hectare yield in South Asia. Experts believe that Pakistan can increase its production by as much as 50% if it adopts the right policies and bring inn the right kind of seeds. China, which is the world’s second largest wheat producer with as much as 5 tonnes per hectare yield. It produced more than 136 million tonnes of wheat against the US’ more than 138 million tonnes. US is world’s largest wheat producer.
The reports of China helping Pakistan in the agriculture sector are very encouraging but much depends on the role of Pakistan’s bureaucracy in making sure that Pakistan takes full advantage of the Chinese expertise. China’s per hectare yield if wheat is estimated at 5 tonnes.
Yunnan Academy of Agricultural Sciences (YAAS) and Pakistan Agricultural Research Council (PARC) started cooperation in 2014. They have been closely cooperating in food crop, cash crop, plant protection, biotechnology and socio-economic development for more than seven years.
In 2016, two among fourteen Chinese wheat DH varieties introduced to Pakistan entered the country’s regional test. Simultaneously, ten Pakistani wheat varieties were brought to China, among which three anti-stripe rust varieties were selected. Especially, in 2017, via China National Seed Group Co., Ltd., “Yunnan Hybrid Wheat No. 12” variety was grown in Pakistan on a trial basis. Results showed a 32% increase in production compared with local varieties.
Academically, through cooperative research, the two sides have jointly published four SCI papers and publications on drought relief, rust disease, and hybrid wheat, etc.
The exchanges of agricultural experts between Yunnan and Pakistan also have been playing an important role in enhancing agricultural cooperation. So far, 10 Pakistani scientists from PARC and University of Agriculture, Faisalabad, etc. came to Yunnan for joint agricultural research. After they returned to Pakistan, they have been continuously contributing to Pakistan’s agricultural development and Sino-Pak agricultural cooperation.
This year, three Pakistani young scientists will arrive in Yunnan later for further research, which comprises nearly one third of the total overseas scientists who have been approved to come to YAAS.
Next, by establishing joint laboratory and joint research center, the two sides will further strengthen advanced Chinese wheat breeding technology, wheat disease prevention and control technology’s application in Pakistan to help improve mutual food security.
“Through fully tap and utilize both China and Pakistan’s wheat gene characteristics, we will further consolidate the joint research of wheat breeding especially resistance breeding such as disease resistance, insect resistance, drought resistance and lodging resistance, high-yield breeding, and multi-functional breeding, etc.,” Luo said.
The agricultural sector contributes about 24 percent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP), accounts for half of employed labor force and is the largest source of foreign exchange earnings.
China has been assisting Pakistan to improve the production of cash crops by imparting valuable knowledge and technology transfer. The country has also provided Pakistan with unprecedented support during the worst locust attack last year by sending experts, equipment and chemicals, saving the country from the threat of massive food shortage, he said.
Some of the information used in this story was taken from China Economic Net