Zhou Xusheng (L), director of the international business department of Wuhan Qingfa Hesheng Seed company, works with a seed expert from Pakistani company Evyol group in canola field on the outskirts of Gujranwala district in Pakistan's Punjab province on Feb. 20, 2023. (Xinhua/Ahmad Kamal)
Echoing the CPEC's cooperation in agriculture, China's Tianjin Modern Vocational Technology College signed an MoU with the MNS-University of Agriculture in Multan to transfer technology to the Pakistani agriculture sector, and skill locals to adopt modern farming techniques.
by Misbah Saba Malik
ISLAMABAD, June 15 (Xinhua) -- Hassan Raza, a farmer in Pakistan's eastern city of Multan, was in awe when he saw the demonstration of China-donated corn-cob picker in local fields by the staff of MNS-University of Agriculture.
"The best thing about the newly-introduced machine is that it will help Pakistan meet climate change challenge as it picks the whole cob rather than seeds, giving farmers the flexibility to harvest their crop earlier than the scheduled time," Raza told Xinhua.
He said crops face destruction as local machines in Pakistan selectively pick corn grains. Farmers have to wait until the grains are fully dried, which makes them vulnerable to the risk of crop loss caused by heat waves or excessive rains resulting from unpredictable weather patterns.
"With the new Chinese picker, the farmers can now pick the whole cob and dry it indoors before unfavorable weather conditions arise," he said, adding that it can both save the crop and facilitate their work.
Zhao Jianhua (L), a Chinese agronomist, guides Pakistani technician Muhammad Sajjad in a greenhouse of the Pakistan-China red chili project in Multan, Pakistan, Jan. 16, 2023. (Xinhua/Ahmad Kamal)
Launched in 2013, the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is a corridor linking Pakistan's Gwadar Port with Kashgar in northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, which highlights energy, transport and industrial cooperation in the first phase, and expands to the fields of agriculture and livelihood in the new phase.
Echoing the CPEC's cooperation in agriculture, China's Tianjin Modern Vocational Technology College signed an MoU with the MNS-University of Agriculture in Multan to transfer technology to the Pakistani agriculture, and skill locals to adopt modern farming techniques.
Under the MoU, the parts of the Chinese corn cob picker were transferred to Pakistan as donations, and the machine was assembled in Luban Workshop Multan, a joint project of Punjab Technical Education and Vocational Training Authority and Tianjin Modern Vocational Technology College.
Sarfraz Hashim, an agriculture engineer and assistant professor at the MNS-University of Agriculture, told Xinhua that the cost of the machine was 55,000 U.S. dollars, but the Chinese university provided it free of cost to Pakistan to modernize its agriculture.
This aerial photo taken on Feb. 20, 2023 shows blooming canola field on the outskirts of Gujranwala district in Pakistan's Punjab province. (Xinhua/Ahmad Kamal)
"Our students and engineers received a two-week virtual training to operate and assemble the machine. Some students and engineers will visit China to know more about agriculture machines and farming techniques," he added.
After the demonstration of the picker, it will be lent to the farmers at low prices and they will use it to harvest the crop under the supervision of university's technicians, Hashim said.
"The response to the demonstration was very welcoming and the farmers were really impressed by the machine. People related to the agriculture business can also import it in the next phase and expand its use in other parts and the demand for the machine will sharply increase," he added.
The professor said the best thing about the machine is its efficiency as it can pick corn from one acre of land in an hour, the work which usually takes a laborer 12 hours to complete.
Talking about the impact of technology transfer by China on Pakistan's agriculture sector, Hashim said that in mechanization, China is on the dint of its advanced technology and has much higher yields than Pakistan.
This aerial photo taken on Jan. 16, 2023 shows a chili nursery of the Pakistan-China red chili project in Multan, Pakistan. (Xinhua/Ahmad Kamal)
"Under the CPEC agriculture cooperation, it is our basic need to introduce Chinese machines in Pakistan, which will help Pakistan cope with climate change and food security challenges," he added.
Sikandar Raza, a student of agriculture at the MNS-University of Agriculture, told Xinhua that he is excited to visit China to equip himself with modern techniques in agriculture. "I will apply them back home to transform the lives of local farmers and boost agricultural development in Pakistan."
"China, being a global leader in agricultural innovation, can provide the necessary support and knowledge transfer to help uplift Pakistan's agricultural sector," he added.
By embracing advanced farming practices such as precision agriculture, hydroponics and mechanization, Pakistani farmers can enhance productivity, reduce crop losses, and ultimately generate better profits, Raza said. ■