China-Pak agricultural cooperation strengthens people-to-people bond
by Wang Xiaotong
BEIJING, April 9 (China Economic Net) – China and Pakistan will ring in the 70th anniversary of their diplomatic relations in the coming month. As China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) enters the second phase, an increasing number of advanced Chinese agricultural technologies represented by maize-soybean strip intercropping are being brought to Pakistan to help improve local people's livelihood, promoting the friendship in a practical way.
"Agricultural cooperation is closely linked to people's livelihood as an ample supply of high-quality meat, eggs, milk, rice and flour, etc. can make Pakistani people healthier. This is the most fundamental way of deepening the friendship because that benefits Pakistani people directly," said maize-soybean strip intercropping study leader Professor Yang Wenyu of China's Sichuan Agricultural University.
Prof. Yang Wenyu from Sichuan Agricultural University is in the interview with China Economic Net. [Photo/Zhang Peng]
Maize-soybean strip intercropping technology, widely recognized by farmers, governments, scientific research institutions and enterprises in Pakistan, is flourishing across the country this year.
"In Pakistan, a great number of people depend on animal husbandry for their livelihood. Soybean, the premier protein choice for livestock, poultry and aquaculture production globally, is rarely planted in Pakistan while the demand for soybeans keeps rising. Pakistan is China's brotherly friend so we started to help Pakistan revitalize soybean production," Yang told China Economic Net. He is providing generous support for this technology's development in Pakistan both technically and financially.
Maize-soybean strip intercropping technology fits Pakistan's conditions to a tee. "Intercropping doesn't occupy extra land. Moreover, Pakistan's high temperature and strong sunlight make it less likely to succeed in sole cultivation of soybeans. In the intercropping system, maize can shade and cool soybeans to realize high yields," Yang analyzed the success of applying this technology to Pakistan. "To further boost soybean production, Chinese seeds, machinery and herbicides related to this technology are going to arrive in Pakistan soon," Yang added.
Maize and soybean crops are growing vigorously in one demonstrative plot in Bahawalpur this spring. [Photo/Muhammad Ali Raza]
Maize-soybean strip intercropping's progress in Pakistan also drives student and faculty exchanges between the two countries. By 2020, under the MOU signed between Sichuan Agricultural University and PMAS-Arid Agriculture University in 2018, 47 Pakistani students have got scholarships from Sichuan Agricultural University.
"The overwhelming majority of my overseas students are from Pakistan. Pakistani students are studious as well as patriotic. My postdoctoral Muhammad Ali Raza who is promoting maize-soybean strip intercropping technology in Pakistan on behalf of our team is really hard-working. He had an opportunity to study in the U.S. but he chose to work in his motherland to develop this technology," Yang appreciated Pakistani students a lot.
"Prof. Yang Wenyu is like a father to me. He always believes me and whatever he plans for me always bring me respect. I love and respect him," Muhammad Ali Raza told CEN.
Prof. Yang Wenyu (4th L) and Dr. Muhammad Ali Raza (5th L) are at the doctoral dissertation defense meeting of Sichuan Agricultural University. [Photo provided by Muhammad Ali Raza]
Up till now four Pakistani universities, i.e. Sindh Agricultural University, Tandojam, Bahauddin Zakariya University, Multan, University of Agriculture, Faisalabad, and PMAS-Arid Agriculture University, Rawalpindi, and Nuclear Institute for Biotechnology and Genetic Engineering (NIBGE), Faisalabad have joined this season's demonstration work. It's learned that another MOU between Sichuan Agricultural University and The Islamia University of Bahawalpur is expected to reach in the near future.