Pakistan-China cooperation in sugar industry to bring sweet revolution

ISLAMABAD, June 7 (INP): “Pakistan and China can produce high-grade sugar in abundance and export it across the world. What the two ‘iron brothers’ need to do is to enhance cooperation to uplift sugarcane industry in Pakistan,” Dr. Gu Wenliang, Agricultural Commissioner of the Chinese Embassy in Pakistan said, according to China Economic Net (CEN).

“As the saying goes: ‘The friendship between China and Pakistan are higher than the Himalayas, deeper than the ocean.’ Sugarcane cooperation between China and Pakistan will bring sweet revolution to the iron brothers, and will literally turn the friendship between the two nations ‘sweeter than honey’,” he remarked.

Dr. Gu Wenliang was speaking at “China-Pakistan Sugarcane Industry Cooperation and Exchange Forum” held online where experts from both China and Pakistan participated and exchanged views.

“It is a great forum. Our responsibility is to connect people and experts from China & Pakistan and provide them a platform. This is what we are doing with zeal and zest. China and Pakistan should join hands to promote sugarcane production and processing to produce high-grade sugar.

Believe me, two iron friends can export sugar to the world if they enhance cooperation in this field,” he said, adding that the Chinese Embassy in Pakistan will continue connecting people from both sides.

Mr. Liu Kui, Director of International Cooperation Department, Chinese Academy of Tropical Agricultural Sciences (CATAS), introduced different aspects of CATAS, and gave an impressive industrialization application of ‘Tissue Culture’ which, according to him, can bring revolution in the production of sugarcane.

“Chinese Academy of Tropical Agriculture Science has been giving training to the scientists across the globe. It has introduced 100 training courses for 4,000 participants from more than 90 countries.

More than 40 young scientists from Asia, Africa, and Latin America came to CATAS for medium and long term visits and exchanges,” he said, adding that CATAS has sent its experts to more than twenty countries to conduct agriculture technology guidance and demonstration of extension.

Liu said CATAS has been transferring technology and Pakistan can also benefit from it.

“CATAS and agricultural enterprises at home jointly carry out international technology transfer,’ he said adding that the Plant Rapid Propagation Research Center of CATAS was established in 2003 and mainly engaged in plant tissue culture and in vitro conversation of tropical plants.

“During the past three years, the center has finished the in vitro cultures of about 140 varieties which belong to more than 40 families,” Mr. Liu said, adding that his center can extend training to Pakistani experts as well as initiate transfer of technology.

“We are planning to set up the China Asia-Pacific Tropical Agricultural and technology Cooperation Network and hope to get your (Pakistanis’) support,” he concluded.

Dr. Zhang Shuzhen, Researcher from Institute of Tropical Bioscience and Biotechnology of CATAS strongly rejected using conventional seeds.

“Conventional seeds are not suitable for planting. Breeding and planting disease free seedlings are perfect for sugarcane production,” she told participants of meeting.

While giving impressive presentation, Dr. Zhang Shuzhen made it loud and clear that by applying integrated disease-free techniques, the pathogens of viruses and RSD can be removed, and problem of degradation and purification can be solved simultaneously,” she said.

She added that healthy seedlings have many features such as higher tiller, higher ratoon germination rate, higher stem formation and higher growth.

“By plantation of healthy seedlings, experts recorded increase in sugar content by 20 to 40 percent. Experts also saved 60 percent of seeds as compared to common seedlings,” she added.

As Pakistan struggles to transform its agriculture sector in line with international standards, China Mechanical Engineering Corporation (CMEC) jumped in offering its latest technology.

“As CPEC inches near to completion in Pakistan, we are offering our latest agricultural technology to Pakistan. We are here to modernize Pakistan’s agriculture sector,” Mr. Dai Bao, Manager of China Machinery Engineering Corporation, Head of China-Pakistan Agricultural Cooperation and Exchange Center said while presenting well-prepared presentation in the forum.

Mr. Dai Bao said CMEC has a deep understanding of the Pakistani market and its development in the past four decades, a long time span CMEC has endured since it entered the country in the 1980s.

“Pakistan is a traditional agricultural country, but there is still a lot more to do to modernize its agriculture sector to enable it to meet international. We are here to help Pakistan achieve goals.

We established the Pakistan-China Agricultural Cooperation and Exchange Center in the first place in 2019 and now the Information Platform, in a wish to vitalize cooperation between the enterprises and research institutions of the two sides and promote Pakistan’s development in agriculture,” Dai Bao said.

“CMEC came into Pakistan in 1981 and set up the first China-sponsored Gudu power plant. As a flagship enterprise, CMEC is dealing with lotsof CPEC projects,” Mr. Dai added. He said CMEC would keep helping Pakistan.

“With CPEC’s moving to new phase, Pakistan’s agriculture has got historic opportunity to grow. CMEC would like to boost modernization of Pakistan’s agriculture,” Mr. Dai Bao concluded.

Speaking on the occasion, Dr. Shahid Afghan, acting CEO SRDB, said Pakistan’s sugarcane industry couldn’t prosper until growers get leading sugarcane variety.

“Pakistan is still far from getting access to leading sugarcane varieties which offer great resistance against diseases. We must start sugarcane breeding program in Pakistan with the help of China. It is the need of hour,” he said.

Manzoo Soomro of ECOSF stressed on the need of collaboration between Pakistan and Chinese governments in agriculture sector and said ‘it is the need of hour’.

Taking part in discussion, Mr. Fateh Mari, Vice Chancellor of Tandojam University, said there lies great scope of cooperation between China and Pakistan in agriculture sector including ‘sugar industry’.

“We need to cooperate so that we can learn from China and China can learn from Pakistan. It will mutually benefit us,” he said.