China-Pakistani enhances cooperation in agriculture sector

BEIJING : China-Pakistan’s growing socio-economic cooperation will be equally beneficial for giving boost to the agriculture sector, enhancing per acre yield of wheat crop.

Farmers in Pakistan are expecting improved crop yields as field trials conducted by a Chinese State-owned enterprise involving hybrid wheat has yielded impressive results.

Chinas’ Sinochem Group Co, which has interests in chemicals and other agriculture-related services, has conducted field trials of hybrid wheat varieties and realized on average 24.4 percent increase in crop yields, according to company officials.

It is also playing an important role in boosting trade ties under the country’s innovative Belt and Road Initiative.

“The tests on the hybrid varieties were implemented in 230 sites, spread over 2,000 hectares of land, mostly in experimental bases or local farms,” said Chen Zhaobo, general manager of CNSGC Hybrid Wheat Seed (Beijing) Company.

“The good results from the experiments offer bright prospects for large-scale cultivation of hybrid varieties in Pakistan.”

The project’s local partners said that yields from hybrid wheat varieties rose as much as 50.1 percent from 2017 to 2018 in the northern wheat growing areas and by 45 percent in the central areas.

Wide cultivation of such high-yielding hybrid wheat varieties will provide more options for Pakistan to secure food supply, said Zhang Shengquan, manager of the scientific research department with CNSGC Hybrid Wheat Seed (Beijing) Co.

To develop hybrids that are distinct to Pakistani crop conditions, the company has established a research center in China’s Yunnan province, Zhang said.

Compared with China, wheat cultivating areas in Pakistan often suffer from drought and high temperatures.

The company has so far deployed 150 technicians in Pakistan to solve project-related problems and they have traveled nearly 10,000 kilometers and to more than 20 cities, Chen said.

Song Weibo, vice-president of the agriculture business unit at Sinochem and general manager of China National Seed Group Co, said the former will continue its efforts to promote hybrid wheat in Belt and Road-related countries and regions.