Islamabad, 21 June, 2023 (GNP): The Centre for Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and China Studies at the Institute of Peace and Diplomatic Studies (IPDS) organized a webinar on China-Pakistan agricultural cooperation under CPEC on 21 June.
Dr. Farhat Asif, the President of IPDS hosted the esteemed event to discuss the contemporary challenges and achievements under CPEC that both countries mutually share.
While celebrating 10 years of friendship, Pakistan and China are working on diverse socio-economic and other development projects under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor partnership, said Dr. Farhat Asif.
Moreover, the webinar invited highly intellectual speakers from both Pakistan and China, giving them the privilege to mutually discuss the prospects in the field of agriculture, technology, and security imperatives concerning both nations.
Venturing into Pakistan’s Agriculture business, Julie (Zhu Xiabo), the Senior Agronomist of Wuhan Qingfa-Hesheng Seed Company, highlighted the need for hybrid rice technology. Julie said that with hybrid rice technology Pakistan’s export could reach $1.6 billion, while China is among the top three buyers globally.
She further said that Pakistan needs to cut down on plum oil imports which are 94% in total, and replace it with hybrid Canola, considering it a less costly and effective way to reduce edible oil import and consumption by Pakistan’s population.
With his insightful addition to the discussion, Alan Xi, the Executive Director, of China Machinery Engineering Corporation (CMEC Group), said “CMEC would like to boost modernization of Pakistan’s agriculture under CPEC-II.” This new phase of cooperation would assist Pakistan in achieving viable opportunities through new techniques and technologies.
Additionally, while discussing the challenges, Alan manifested that key development areas under CMEC include export-oriented food, deep processing zone, and agriculture machine & facilities manufacturing base, for Pakistan and the international market.
Furthermore, he highlighted China’s long-term plan for livestock aiming to develop FMD-free zone, cattle, fish, and poultry farms around Pakistan, as well as exporting HALAL meat to the Middle East and China.
Dr. Muhammad Rizwan Hamid, the Senior Scientist at Hunan Agricultural University China, while analyzing the growing challenges and opportunities, considered Pakistan’s agriculture as a vital ingredient to GDP growth, employment, and exports.
“Collaborative efforts between China and Pakistan can focus on sharing advanced farming technology, promoting research and development, and improving agricultural practices,” Dr. Rizwan Hamid said.
According to the Integration development plan, China will invest $25 million between 2022-2024 to establish five chili processing plants in Multan, Hyderabad, Lahore, and other regions, said Peter Huang, the commercial head of International Agriculture Development and Co. (Pvt) Ltd (LTEC).
Comparatively, Dr. Tahir Usman, the associate professor at the College of Veterinary Sciences Abdul Wali Khan University Mardan, gave an overview of Pakistan’s economic challenges. While addressing the issues he said there is huge potential for solarization and capacity building. “If we join hands, we can together make a huge difference,” he stated further.
Concluding the session, Dr. Farhat Asif appreciated China’s commendable efforts and investments in Pakistan. Considering it the world’s largest economy, she said China has achieved unprecedented heights not only in technology but in advancing institutions and developing cultural ties.
Furthermore, she encouraged the youth of Pakistan to assess and avail the valuable opportunities in agriculture and other sectors. “Every individual’s contribution to the economy matters,” she stated.
Dr. Farhat also acknowledged the longstanding sister-state relations between Pakistan and China, which have spanned over 70 years. She mentioned that the cooperation between the two countries goes beyond the CPEC and referred to them as the “Iron Brothers.”
She expressed her heartfelt gratitude to all the speakers for contributing their valuable insights.