Islamabad (16th May 2019)……. A delegation comprising of members from Farmer Associates of Pakistan (FAP) and Pakistan Agriculture Research council (PARC) visited China on the invitation of Embassy of China. The visit lasted from April 23 to April 30.The delegation was headed by Mr. Afaq Tiwana, a prominent farmer and head of FAP. Other members of the delegation including Dr. M. Kamal Sheikh, Dr. Fayyaz Hussain and Dr. Amanullah from PARC, and Mr. Syed Afzal Haider, Mr. Ibadullah and Mr. Sirbuland Hoti from FAP. The objective of the visit was to meet Policy Makers, Research Institutions, Teaching Institutes, Farmers’ Organizations and Business Entities of China and learn from their experience in Agriculture. As it was observed the productivity of Pakistani farmers is at 50% that of farmers in China. Delegation participated in the workshop arranged by Chinese Academy of Tropical Agricultural Sciences under the ambit of CATAS-CIAT-Biodiversity collaboration. Later the delegation met in Hanan Province with Officials of Ministry of Science and Technology and exchanged their views with Mr. Zhao Qinghui (Depty Director General) and both sides agreed for mutual cooperation in S&T. The Delegation later travelled to city of Sanya where they had a discussion session with Sanya Nanfan Institute of Science and Technology. A complete overview on Tropical Agriculture in China was presented with a willingness by the Chinese side to work with farmers and scientists in Pakistan on tropical fruits and vegetables and exchange of germplasm. Next stop was University of Science and Technology in the city of Changsha. Here the delegation met the faculty of School of Electrical and Information Engineering who gave detailed overview of their work in the field of Agriculture, water and Energy development. Several private sector companies were also presented and gave briefing on their successful projects and ideas as well as products and services they were working on. Later Delegation met with Vice president, Mr. Fangming Xie of Yuan Longping High-Tech Agriculture Co. Ltd, a leading Chinese seed company dealing in hybrid rice and corn.
The whole trip was perfectly planned by Govt of China and each day was fully utilized. From Changsha, Delegation took a high speed train to the capital city of Beijing. China Science Center of International Eurasia Academy of Sciences was the first meeting place in Beijing. This center represented an apex think tank for policy formulation for Gov of China. Experts of different disciplines and fields come together and deliberate for a wholesome integrated approach to formulate policies and strategies in the field of Agriculture. Next two days delegation was shown around the city marvels of history and contemporary art. Summer Place, Forbidden City, Olympic Park, Tienanmen Square, Center for Performing Art and Great Wall was visited by the delegation. During all this hosts took extra care for Food and took the delegation to exquisite Muslim restaurants to taste their delicacies. In China Academy of Agriculture Science, delegation observed latest green house and hydroponics research being done on various field crops and vegetables. Later China University of Agriculture was visited and detail presentation on University was given by the Dy. Director of International office. Pakistani students doing PhD work also joined and shared their excellent experience at the university. Research Center on National Flower of China was of keen interest for the delegation. Livestock Feed and Mechanization center was the last stop at the China Agriculture University. On the last day of the visit final meeting was held with China National Seed Association that is doing an excellent work in crops breeding, seed registration, seed multiplication and developed a systems of seed distribution systems in the country.
In Conclusion it was observed that China has excelled in field of Agriculture through bringing together different sciences and policy framework in an integrated manner. All Stakeholders of Agronomic world are in sync with National Vision of the leadership. From Government Departments, Research Organizations, Universities, Private Sector to Farm Organizations, all are working towards one goal. This has led to unprecedented focus and collaboration within institutions and resultantly have achieved remarkable progress in a very short span of time. On the other hand Pakistan has extensive agriculture landscape but due to lack of technology and mechanization agriculture productivity levels are well below that of China. This trip showed that this gap provides a unique opportunity for both countries to create synergies and collaborations in Agriculture.
As a follow up this visit a meeting of Foreign Minister Mr. Shah Mahmood Qureshi was held with Excellency Chinese Ambassador Mr. Yao Jing along with Elite farmers and PARC scientist. Many areas of cooperation were agreed upon under the CPEC Agriculture Framework. Chinese Ambassador showed his keen interest in running a number of projects with Pakistani farmers, private sector organizations, universities and research organizations. There will be follow-up to this trip and these meetings so that solid structure can be created to capitalize on the lessons learned on this very successful trip.
(Edited by: Dr. Muhammad Arshad Ullah)
Director (SC&P), NARC