Great potential lies in Pak-China agri cooperation: Study

Aug 31, 2020: A latest study done by Zhang Wenli and Zhai Xueling from Research Center for Rural Economy, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs of China, says that Pak-China agricultural cooperation is still in the initial stage, with plenty of potential in technology, product processing, trade and infrastructure construction.

Agriculture is the largest sector of Pakistan’s economy in terms of labor participation, according to a report published by China Economic Net (CEN) on Monday.

Meanwhile, Pakistan has a trade surplus with China in agricultural products. The volume of bilateral trade in this area has been growing strongly in recent years. From US $ 181 million in the year of 2010 to US $ 476 million in 2019, China’s imports of agricultural products from Pakistan had increased by 163.1 per cent, with an average annual growth rate of 11.3 per cent.

However, facing challenges due to climate change, pest attacks, water shortage, etc., Pakistan’s agriculture calls for increased productivity.

According to the study, the natural resource endowments between Pakistan and China are mutually complementary, which lays a solid basis for expanding cooperation as well as driving Pakistan’s agricultural progress through adopting advanced technologies in the future.

China has strengths in agricultural science and technology, mechanization, water conservancy engineering, etc.

In 2019, the contribution rate of science and technology to China's agricultural growth recorded as 59.2 per cent, and the mechanization level of crop cultivation and harvest in China exceeded 70 per cent.

Simultaneously, the innovation of seed industry has been continuously promoted, and the coverage rate of improved seed varieties has been greatly improved.

Pakistan is rich in many agricultural production essentials like land and manpower. The per capita cultivated land area in Pakistan is twice that of China.

Furthermore, Pakistan has a larger percentage of people in younger age groups than China. Moreover, Pakistan’s increasingly improved investment environment, regulations and laws are also appreciated.

Currently, the yields of major crops in Pakistan such as wheat and rice are only about 50 per cent of those in China. Therefore, the two countries can improve trade on each other’s high-quality seed, and strengthen joint research on seed variety improvement of wheat, rice, oilseed, sugarcane, etc.

Carrying out technical exchanges on planting, pest control, livestock breeding management, drought and flood disaster response is also necessary for lifting Pakistani agriculture’s overall level of technology and management.

In addition, water-use efficiency in Pakistan is relatively low. The two sides should enhance bilateral cooperation on water conservancy system, and drip irrigation technology and equipment.

It’s mentioned in the study that Pakistan's prospect for developing labor-intensive agricultural products processing industry is bright. In this respect, future cooperation can mainly focus on the primary processing of agricultural products such as grain, livestock products and vegetables to make diversified supply of products.

The study also points out several barriers hindering Pak-Sino agricultural cooperation. The researchers suggest infrastructure of electricity, water and transportation be transformed or constructed.

As China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) develops, infrastructure and logistics in Pakistan will be significantly improved, which will give a new impetus to the bilateral trade in agriculture sector.

Recent COVID-19 pandemic poses extraordinary challenges for almost all sectors of the economy of Pakistan.

Need for maintaining food security and livelihoods has also gained more importance. Pakistan and China are all-weather strategic cooperative partners with time-honored friendship.

By deepening agricultural cooperation with China, productivity of major crops in Pakistan will be lifted to safeguard domestic food supply, and the whole sector will make steady progress fueled by high-techs.

APP

Posted on: 2020-08-31T15:41:00+05:00

36631