Home » Chinese agricultural technology transforms oilseed harvesting landscape in Pakistan

Chinese agricultural technology transforms oilseed harvesting landscape in Pakistan

by Haroon Amin
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The farmers in the Bhakkar district of eastern Pakistan were amazed at how quickly and efficiently the freshly imported oilseed harvesters from China completed their tasks.

In Pakistan, we depend on a single kind of harvester to harvest all crops, which causes us to lose up to 40% of our the crop’s yield. A local farmer named Muhammad Masood told Xinhua.

Despite having a predominantly agricultural economy, Pakistan depends on imports for almost 89% of its edible oil needs, and it spends US$3.6 billion a year to meet its 5 million-ton annual need.

Because good quality oil seeds were hard to come by in the local market, many people were forced to turn to less expensive but unhealthy alternatives like mustard oil due to the high cost of imported edible oil, he claimed.

Local farmers now have an option after the Chinese canola type was brought to the market through Pakistan-China collaboration.

The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) was initiated in 2013 and spans from the Gwadar Port in the Balochistan province of southwest Pakistan to Kashgar in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region of northwest China. The first phase of the CPEC focused on energy, transportation, and industrial cooperation, while the second phase expanded to include fields such as agriculture and livelihood.

A memorandum of understanding was signed in 2022 by the Chinese company Wuhan Qingfa Hesheng Seed Co. Ltd. and the Pakistani company Evyol Group, in accordance with the CPEC’s agricultural cooperation, to assist Pakistan in becoming self-sufficient in edible oil through the extensive cultivation and effective harvesting of nutritious canola oilseeds.

Read more: Pakistan’s sesame seeds export to China increases by 68% to $10.10 million in Jan-Feb

According to Ghazanfar Ali, head of marketing at Evyol Group, in an interview with Xinhua, the Chinese company supplied premium hybrid seed for growing in the first phase, which not only increased per acre production in comparison to local oilseeds but also gave the locals a healthier alternative.

According to Ali, the company’s second step involves bringing technology to Pakistan, where harvesters have been brought in from China to help the nation adopt smart agriculture techniques.

He said that plans for the third phase include bringing in oil-extracting machinery so that local farmers can extract the oil for both personal and commercial usage.

Zhou Xusheng, the director of Wuhan Qingfa Hesheng Seed Company’s foreign business department, discussed the new machinery with Xinhua. He said that two types of harvesting equipment have been designed that are compatible with regional farming practices and usage patterns.

According to him, one piece of equipment allows for one-time harvesting, which reduces harvest loss to eight to ten percent. The other piece of equipment offers a two-stage technique, which entails harvesting the crop two to three days after it is close to maturity, resulting in a loss of less than five percent.

According to Zhou, the technology breakthrough can increase yields by 20 to 30 percent, improving farmers’ incomes and speeding up adoption. It is also compatible with Pakistan’s current harvesters.

After receiving input from regional farmers and agricultural specialists, the harvesters will be further customised to meet local needs.

Speaking about the importance of the technology transfer, Akmal Siddiq, a technical advisor at the nation’s Ministry of National Food Security and Research, noted that labour is in short supply in the agriculture sector during the oilseed harvest season because practically all winter crops are harvested at that time.

He continued, “The overall productivity of the sector gets affected when they harvest the crop by primitive measure because the available labour is also not so skilled.”

The country’s oilseed harvesting environment has a significant possibility to modernise and undergo transformation through the use of Chinese agricultural technologies. The agriculture industry can overcome long-standing obstacles, increase productivity, and support the country’s food security and economic development through efficient technology transfer and adoption, the official told Xinhua.

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