Maize-soybean strip intercropping to reduce Pakistan’s soybean import bill by 50%

Islamabad, Jan. 19 (INP): Maize-soybean strip intercropping to reduce Pakistan’s soybean import bill by 50% in the next five years.

According to China Economic Net (CEN), a soybean research and cultivation promotion and planning meeting was held in the Islamia University of Bahawalpur (IUB) the other day.

Strengthening soybean research, promoting soybean cultivation in Pakistan and improving soybean processing and value addition were discussed at the meeting.

“Soybean is considered the essential poultry feed ingredient, next to cereals within the field crop segment. However, local soybean production in Pakistan is much lower than the total national annual consumption.

We can get out of this situation by enhancing our local soybean production using strip intercropping technology, which has globally proven to be the technique for enhancing crop production in the face of decreasing cultivation in a sustainable manner,” said Muhammad Ali Raza, post-doc of Sichuan Agricultural University (SAU) and Director of National Research Centre of Intercropping, IUB.

Since 2018, successful maize-soybean strip intercropping technology trials have been continuously conducted in Pakistan’s Sindh and Punjab.

At the meeting, Dr. Muhammad Ali Raza, Dr. Zaheer Ahmad In-charge of soybean cell of University of Agriculture Faisalabad (UAF) and Hafiz Saad Bin Mustafa, Research Scientist at Directorate of Oilseeds, Ayub Agriculture Research Institute (AARI), presented their achievements on maize-soybean intercropping. Positive feedback was also given from agricultural enterprise CEOs and local progressive farmers in the meeting.

“In last autumn, from Aug. to Dec. 2021, I adopted this technology on 40 hectares of land. In the end of the season, I got 1.8 tons of soybean and 2.5 tons of maize per hectare,” Ch. Shaukat Ali Chadhar, President of Kissan Board Pakistan, shared the promising data of the trial by him.

Dr. Muhammad Arshad, CEO of Hi Tech Group, remarked that high protein content soybean seeds with good amino acid profiles are for good digestibility which can be cultivated through maize-soybean strip intercropping technology.

“The intercropping technology can increase the protein content within soybean because high maize crops will give some shade to soybean crops which will be the reason for high accumulation of protein within soybean seeds,” he explained.

The meeting was chaired by Prof. Dr. Athar Mahboob, IUB Vice Chancellor. “IUB is ready to provide all the technical support required to the industry or farmer community. With this technology, we are aiming to reduce our country’s soybean import bill by 50% in next five years,” he said.

Dr. Rana Tariq, CEO/MD of Shamim Feeds Pvt. Ltd., Tariq Tanveer, CEO of Agri-Tourism Development Corporation of Pakistan, Dr. Khalid Mahmood Shouq, Editor in Chief of Veterinary News & Views, Ali Khurram Irfan Nomani, CEO of Akin Foods, Dr. Muhammad Aslam, CEO of Mumtaz Feeds, Rao Muhammad Ikhlaq, Muhammad Manzoor, and Naeem Iqbal, etc. also attended the meeting.

INP/javed