China, Pakistan signed DoU to step up agricultural cooperation
ISLAMABAD, Mar. 7 (Gwadar Pro) – In a move to promote China-Pakistan industry-university-research strategic cooperation on modern agriculture, a Documents of Understanding (DoU) was signed between National University of Sciences and Technology, Pakistan (NUST), Weifang Engineering Vocational College, Qingzhou Municipal Government and Weifang National Comprehensive Pilot Agriculture Zone last week at Weifang, China.
The signing ceremony [Photo provided to Gwadar Pro]
The four sides agreed to work together in promoting bilateral agricultural technology cooperation under the framework of CPEC, with the focus on construction of the entire agricultural industry chain system, deep processing of agricultural products and related industrialization development.
“Agriculture in the South Asian Region is struggling with low productivity, supply shortfalls, low returns to farmers, lack of advanced technology, and lack of trained professionals and thus threatening our food security,” Pro Rector Academics of NUST Dr. Osman Hassan noted in his speech, “these problems is related to people's livelihood and well-being closely, particularly in Pakistan, as it is an agro-economic country with immense potential for crop production and research in agricultural sciences.”
Dr. Osman Hassan told Gwadar Pro reporter that currently, the NUST is actively conducting research including precision agriculture, multispectral sensing of crop fields, agricultural 3D printing and scanning applications, early detection of pathogens, and plant disease management. “Nevertheless, research on sustainable agricultural resource management systems remains a major challenge for us, and I sincerely believe that today’s agreements will certainly play an indispensable role in filling these gaps."
Another conferee, Dr Hussain Ahmad Janjua, Principal, Atta-ur-Rahman School of Applied Biosciences (ASAB), NUST, also highlighted his viewpoint with practical measures, “Food processing and preservation, a key area for both countries to deal with food security. To increase the shelf life of perishables such as fruits and vegetables, there is a need to introduce modern food storage technologies and facilities in Pakistan. The input of Chinese modern technologies in this regard would be helpful in strengthen research and development in this key area.”
Dr Hussain Ahmad Janjua pointed out that they have plans to build research collaborations with Chinese Agriculture Universities such as Nanjing Agriculture University and Research Organization such as Chinese Academy of Sciences. “In continuation of this, three DoUs have already signed with Chinese academic and public sector institutes.”
To support the above efforts, “there is a need for us to establish joint labs to work on the collaborative projects in Agri-sciences, which may range from characterization of molecular and physiological aspects of plants and crops in terms of biotic and abiotic stresses. Besides, there is also a need to work on the development of bio-based fertilizers and pesticides.”
Pakistani participants sign DoU at NUST [Photo provided to Gwadar Pro]
Guests including Chen Wei, Vice Mayor of Qingzhou Municipal Government, Wang Jinming, Vice-president of Weifang Engineering Vocational College, Wang Yong, Deputy Director of Promotion Office of Weifang National Comprehensive Pilot Agriculture Zone, Xiang Yang, Director of China Study Centre at NUST and representatives of some export-oriented agricultural enterprises in Qingzhou were also present during the ceremony.