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Pak-China cooperation to bolster agri yield

February 19, 2023

Islamabad : The agriculture cooperation under China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) will increase Pakistan’s edible oil production and save foreign exchange reserves.

The project will increase the country’s unit output and reduce import bills. Mills can get better milling yield and consumers can get healthy edible oil, said Zhou Xusheng, Director of International Department, Wuhan Qingfa Hesheng Seed Company, in an interview with Gwadar Pro. Comparing with other existing brassica napus canola varieties in Pakistan, he said that canola variety HC-021C of a Chinese seed company blooming in Pakistan has a shorter growth period, making it suitable to match with local farmers’ sowing habits. In addition, HC-021C is proven to show higher disease resistance and is suitable for high density planting.

Given these great characteristics, HC-021C has a higher yield, 5% higher than other local varieties per unit. Underlining the benefits of HC-021C in Pakistan, Zhou said that the Punjab government gives a Rs5,000 package to HC-021C as it has better oil rape seed colour. Farmers can get Rs500/40kgs more than raya/mustard, therefore HC-021C can get a better income.

He said, “In terms of nutritional value, given Ayub’s research, HC-021C is able to achieve 38% or higher on oil content (10% higher than raya/mustard) and over 66% on oleic acid.

Moreover, HC-021C’s erucic acid content weighs 0.7%, much lower than the 2% international standard, resulting in higher added value on downstream processing.”

“In the future, Qingfa and its partner Certus Seeds in Pakistan will invest in new breeding varieties locally. For building an industry chain in Pakistan, we plan to introduce canola harvester modules and Chinese oil press technology and units.

Besides the downstream chain we also want to develop fine variety, contract farming to provide high quality rape seeds to local oil press mills. This mode will benefit whole chains,” Zhou added.

Pakistan has a huge demand for vegetable oil. Each resident is estimated to have an annual consumption of 18 kilograms of oil, resulting in an annual consumption of around 5 million tons. Edible oil is among the largest food imports in Pakistan.

From 2021 to 2022, Pakistan has imported around 3.6 billion dollars’ worth of edible oil, making it 89% of Pakistan’s national supply. Among all edible oils Pakistan has imported palm oil which occupies the largest share of 94%. Local supply of palm oil only takes up 11% of the market share.

Since 2009, Wuhan Qingfahesheng Seed Company has cooperated with Certus Seeds Pakistan for canola research and breeding in Pakistan while HC-021C was approved by the Pakistani Government later in 2019. The company also manages breeding and technical support for local farmers.