China to install phytosanitary facilities, build agriculture institutes in Pakistan

ISLAMABAD: China will help Pakistan install phytosanitary facilities to boost the country’s fruit export, besides building vocational and technical agriculture institutions for training farmers and general public.

The decision to this effect was taken in a meeting between Minister for National Food Security and Research Syed Fakhar Imam and Ambassador of China Yao Jing on Thursday.

Speaking on the occasion, Syed Fakhar Imam mentioned that Prime Minister Imran Khan aimed to revive agriculture in Pakistan adding that technical experts from both sides collaborate and come up with concrete projects or agricultural research.

He added that the Plant Breeders Act and Plant Seed Act will provide new opportunities to brand Pakistan’s agricultural products.

The minister said that Pakistan is facing a problem of low yield, adding that Pakistan and China should cooperate in the field of germ plasm to develop high yielding seed varieties for cotton, fruits, hybrid rice and wheat.

Syed Fakhar Imam further said that China is one of largest markets in the world for export of meat and meat products, however, Pakistan lacks access to the Chinese market. He urged the need for collaboration to increase access to the Chinese meat market for Pakistan. 

The Chinese ambassador also expressed interest in mutual cooperation pertaining to fishery at Gwadar.

Last year, China-Pakistan Joint Working Group on Agricultural Cooperation was established in pursuance of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) November 2, 2018 and a framework agreement signed on June 26, 2019.

Earlier, China has provided an in-kind donation of locust control equipment to the tune of around Rs4.94 million to Pakistan including 300,000 liters of pesticide.

Another request for the provision of 200 drones worth $2.6 million is under process with the Economic Affairs Division. China has also donated medical equipment including 30,000 surgical masks, 1,000 protective suits and 1,000 protective goggles for continuation of locust control activities during the coronavirus pandemic. Moreover, China had also previously donated $100,000 in cash to support locust control activities.

Additionally, an MoU was signed in March 2020 between Pakistan and China aimed at establishing a Joint Plan Pest and Disease Control Centre in Pakistan.

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