BEIJING, Aug 23: China’s hybrid wheat, using the two-line hybrid technique, has been successfully harvested on a large scale in Pakistan, according to a senior official of a Chinese company which has conducted field trials of hybrid wheat varieties and realized on average 24.4 percent increase in crop yields.
“Our company has sent many experts to Pakistan to teach local farmers how to plant the wheat. Around 150 experts have been sent to Pakistan, where they visited over 20 cities,” Song Weibo, Vice President of Sinochem Group Agriculture Division, China's biggest agricultural inputs company and integrated modern agricultural services operator told the Chinese media.
The two-line hybrid technique is often used in hybrid rice and wheat. It can increase wheat production by 20 percent. The hybrid wheat has been proven to outperform standard wheat in terms of yield, water usage and resistance to disease.
Chen Zhaobo, General Manager, CNSGC Hybrid Wheat Seed, a subsidiary of China National Seed Group Co under Sinochem Group Co, which is responsible for the hybrid wheat promotion project in Pakistan, said 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.
“The good results from the experiments offer bright prospects for large-scale cultivation of hybrid varieties in Pakistan,” he added.
Zhang Shengquan, an expert at the Beijing Academy of Agricultural and Forestry Sciences who oversees the hybrid wheat project in Pakistan, said that wheat production in northern Pakistan has increased by 50.1 percent between 2017 and 2018, citing data from Pakistan's University of Agriculture Peshawar.
Data from Pakistan-based Guard Agricultural Research and Services Company shows that during the same period, wheat production in the country's middle regions has increased by 45 percent, he added.
Zhang said that drought and high temperatures are the major challenges to planting hybrid wheat in Pakistan. Frequent changes in the policies of the governments also make it difficult to sustain the project, he noted.
University of Agriculture Peshawar Professor Muhammad Arif told China Radio International that the world has been studying hybrid wheat but no one has achieved China's level of success.
With the help from Chinese experts, the technique could yield around 6,000 kilograms per hectare, twice that of local wheat production, Arif said, adding it could free up land for other agriculture products.
Zhao Gancheng, director of the Shanghai Institute for the International Studies Center for Asia-Pacific Studies, said the project could help Pakistan ensure food security and also promote China-Pakistan ties.
“Pakistan's population has been rapidly increasing, but the country is short on farmland. The project is win-win cooperation,” he added.