China-led Farming as alternative livelihood for Gwadar
GWADAR, Mar. 18 (Gwadar Pro)-In a situation where Gwadar’ residents desperately need more sources of income other than fishing to maximize financial survivability, a sustainable and modern alternative source of income is coming into play through an initiative of modern farming inspired by Chinese agro-based high-tech scientific technologies.
Credit goes to “Plant Tissue Culture Lab and Greenhouse”, an integral part of Belt and Road Engineering Research Center for Tropical Arid Non-Wood Forest built and run in cooperation with Central South University of Forestry and Technology, China Overseas Port Holding Company Limited and Yulin Holding Company Limited in the premises of Gwadar Port Free Zone area. Pakistani Ministry of Climate Change, University of Karachi, and Indus University are also on board.
Thousands of residents of Gwadar are going to be part of the new Chinese program offered to them to learn how to kick start growing tropical and economic crops that will be potentially strong to survive in Gwadar’s hot, dry and arid climate besides producing higher number of fruits. The alternative source of income will help Gwadar’s residents lessen their dependency on fishing livelihood that accounts for almost 95 percent in the source of income of Gwadar people.
Zhang Saiyang, Director at Plant Tissue Culture Lab and Green House, told Gwadar Pro “soon we are going to hold training sessions free of charge for local residents of Gwadar to impart them advanced knowledge of how to inventively grow economic cultivations including banana, orchid, jujube, ginger and others. “In the first phase, a group of 10 resident of Gwadar and employees in Gwadar Free Zone area, will learn modern breeding and grafting skills and technology,” he added. After the pilot project succeed, residents of Gwadar city living outside the Gwadar port will also get access to the initiative, he explained.
Being a PHD in forestry, Zhang Saiyang said, “our aim is not only to change and improve the local economy but also to make Gwadar greener and cleaner,” he added.
“The initiative being unleashed will also help boost “nursery business”. We plan to dole out to local residents many research-based baby plants for free in coming future which will have higher survivability rate so that they establish their own nurseries. Through nursery business, they will not only earn money but also will contribute to improving green coverage in Gwadar that will make the environmental eco-system and climate healthier and more pleasant,” he added.
Allah Buksh, resident of Gwadar and worker at the Greenhouse, showed enthusiasm to join the upcoming training session, saying that he would seize the opportunity as the initiative will set a stage for a new era of farming in Gwadar.
Abdul Raheem, Deputy Director Environment in Gwadar Development Authority (GDA) in a special interview with Gwadar Pro applauded the initiative, saying it will make a difference. Local farming may become the second source of income, he added. “If the initiative proves to be successful, the already existing agriculture production of almond, water melon species and wild pear in the areas of Pishkan, Gunz, Khair and Surbund will thrive; people’s reliance on fishing will decrease and it will provide a direly-needed respite to natural sea resources,” he added.
However, he said, before that, plants survivability will be tested in an open environment where plants will be exposed to excessive aridity, sizzling hot condition and challenges of intervening variables.