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Chinese Think Tank Calls for Collaborative Action to Ensure Food Security in Pakistan

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Pakistan has strengthened its ties with China in the field of education and agriculture under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) initiative. According to Dr. Safdar Ali, Director General of the CPEC Cell at the Higher Education Commission of Pakistan (HEC), 325 MoUs have been signed between Pakistani and Chinese universities, fostering academic cooperation. Additionally, 581 Pakistani students have availed Chinese scholarships as part of this mega initiative.

Dr. Safdar Ali disclosed this information during the inaugural session of a three-day international conference on sustainable food security solutions held at the University of Agriculture, Faisalabad (UAF). The conference was organized in collaboration with the South China Agriculture University (SCAU), Guangzhou, and the University of Karachi, as part of the CPEC Consortium of Universities.

Pakistan has strengthened its ties with China in the field of education and agriculture under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) initiative.

Highlighting the significance of collaboration with China in the agriculture sector, Dr. Safdar expressed optimism that such cooperation would contribute to improving food security in Pakistan. Under the CPEC framework, 113 training programs have been conducted in partnership with Chinese universities, benefitting 19,000 individuals who received training in the Chinese language.

Professor Chen Letian, Director of International Affairs at SCAU, emphasized the expansion of agricultural ties between China and Pakistan, particularly in addressing food and environmental crises. He expressed confidence that the collaboration in the agriculture sector would yield tangible results and benefit both countries.

Dr. Jafar Jaskani, Director of the Office of Research, Innovation, and Commercialization (ORIC) at UAF, highlighted the low per-acre agricultural production in Pakistan. However, he pointed out that Pakistan has established excellent ties with Chinese universities for agricultural uplift, offering opportunities for knowledge exchange and technological advancements.

Professor Dr. Cai Kun Zheng, Deputy Dean of the College of Natural Resources and Environment at SCAU, emphasized their active efforts in implementing good practices to achieve green agriculture development. These practices focus on ecological agricultural technology, biodiversity conservation, and environment-friendly approaches.

 

Dr. John Hu, representing SCAU, suggested a sustainable solution for animal and poultry feed by replacing soybean protein with insect protein. This proposal aligns with the ongoing global discussions on alternative protein sources and their potential benefits in mitigating environmental impacts.

The China-Pakistan partnership in agriculture reinforces the commitment to sustainable development and offers opportunities for mutual growth and progress.

The collaboration between Pakistani and Chinese universities, particularly in the agricultural sector, holds great promise for both countries. With the exchange of knowledge, training programs, and innovative solutions, Pakistan aims to enhance its agricultural productivity, improve food security, and address environmental challenges. The China-Pakistan partnership in agriculture reinforces the commitment to sustainable development and offers opportunities for mutual growth and progress.

 

Pakistan, a country with a population of over 220 million people, faces the critical challenge of ensuring food security for its citizens. Recognizing the importance of this issue, the government and various stakeholders are implementing comprehensive strategies and initiatives to address the nation’s food security concerns. By focusing on sustainable agriculture practices, technology adoption, and innovative policies, Pakistan aims to achieve self-sufficiency in food production and ensure a steady supply of nutritious food for its growing population.

 

Enhancing Agricultural Productivity

 

Agriculture is the backbone of Pakistan’s economy, employing a significant portion of the population and contributing to the country’s GDP. To enhance agricultural productivity, the government has prioritized investments in infrastructure development, irrigation systems, and research and development activities. Modernizing irrigation systems, such as the construction of dams and canals, has improved water management and enabled farmers to cultivate their lands more efficiently.

 

Furthermore, the adoption of advanced farming techniques and practices, including precision agriculture and mechanization, has increased yields and reduced post-harvest losses. The use of high-quality seeds, improved fertilizers, and innovative pest management methods has also contributed to boosting agricultural productivity. Additionally, the promotion of sustainable farming practices, such as organic farming and integrated pest management, is being encouraged to protect the environment and ensure the long-term viability of agriculture.

 

Investing in Research and Development

 

Research and development play a crucial role in developing innovative solutions to address food security challenges. The Pakistani government, in collaboration with academic institutions and research organizations, is investing in agricultural research to improve crop varieties, enhance resilience to climate change, and develop sustainable farming systems. Efforts are being made to introduce drought-tolerant and disease-resistant crop varieties that can thrive in Pakistan’s diverse agro-climatic conditions.

 

Moreover, research is focused on developing climate-smart agriculture techniques that help farmers adapt to changing environmental conditions. This includes the utilization of efficient irrigation methods, conservation agriculture, and the adoption of climate-resilient farming practices. By investing in research and development, Pakistan aims to harness the potential of its agricultural sector and ensure long-term food security.

 

Empowering Smallholder Farmers

 

Smallholder farmers constitute a significant portion of Pakistan’s agricultural workforce. Recognizing their importance, the government is implementing various initiatives to support and empower these farmers. Access to credit facilities, agricultural extension services, and capacity-building programs are being provided to enhance their productivity and income.

 

Furthermore, initiatives such as the establishment of farmer cooperatives and market linkages enable smallholders to access better markets and receive fair prices for their produce. Training programs on modern agricultural techniques, resource management, and value addition are being conducted to equip farmers with the necessary knowledge and skills to improve their agricultural practices.

 

Addressing Food Loss and Waste

 

Reducing food loss and waste is crucial for ensuring food security. Pakistan is implementing measures to minimize post-harvest losses by improving storage facilities, transportation infrastructure, and cold chain systems. By strengthening the supply chain and reducing losses during transportation and storage, more food can reach consumers and contribute to food security.

In addition, raising awareness among consumers about the importance of minimizing food waste and adopting sustainable consumption patterns is being emphasized. By reducing food waste at the household level, valuable resources can be conserved, and more food can be made available to those in need.

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