Pilot zone: a window to expedite Pak-China agricultural coop upgrade
WEIFANG, Mar. 14 (China Economic Net) – “Through cooperation projects, we can increase the added value and utilization rate of Pakistan’s agricultural products, helping local farmers increase their income. Meanwhile, the transformation and output of our agricultural technology can generate profits, which as undoubtedly a win-win situation,” said Chen Wei, Vice Mayor of Qingzhou City, while receiving an exclusive interview with China Economic Net.
A Documents of Understanding (DoU) was signed lately between National University of Sciences and Technology, Pakistan (NUST), Weifang Engineering Vocational College, Qingzhou Municipal Government and Weifang National Comprehensive Pilot Agriculture Zone, through which four sides will carry out a series of high-level agricultural industrialization construction.
“Transform our current agricultural infrastructure should be priority among priorities,” Dr Hussain Ahmad Janjua, Principal, Atta-ur-Rahman School of Applied Biosciences (ASAB), NUST, highlighted. “Different initiatives such as development of high yielding varieties, seed hybridization projects, plant molecular biology and automation of farms are on our list.”
In answer to Dr Janjua, Chen Wei told the reporter that the four sides have agreed to work together in promoting 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.
Jiuzhou Farm Sci-tech Demonstration Park, Qingzhou [Photo provided to CEN]
“As for future, we will begin with three aspects: standardized cultivation as first, especially facility agriculture due to systematic agricultural facilities is one of the keys of agricultural modernization.” The reporter learned that take the SAS self-controlled soilless cultivation technology as an example, using soilless cultivation facilities to cultivate fruits and vegetables in hilly areas can save land to the greatest extent. At present, the first demonstration park has started construction in Qingzhou, which can increase the utilization rate of idle waste land in low hills by 5%-10%, release 40,000-80,000 mu (2667-5333 hectares) of land, and drive more than 10,000 people to achieve reemployment.
“Secondly, precise crop fertilization and harvest loss reduction are also our focus. Based on soil composition tests and fertilizer field experiments, we’ll scientifically guide local farmers to improve fertilizer utilization efficiency and crop yield through formula fertilization. In addition, advanced agricultural machinery equipment and technology can also help Pakistani farmers to reduce the loss of machine harvest,” Pan added.
“The last but not the least, improving the level of the entire industrial chain of agricultural products needs to be resolved urgently in Pakistan. I hope to recommend our three characteristic industries of fruits, vegetables and flowers. We are expecting to share all technologies and experiences with Pakistani friends.” Taking hawthorn in Qingzhou as an example, there are 135 fruit processing enterprises in Wangfen Town, Qingzhou, producing 200,000 tons of hawthorn products, with an annual output value of more than 2.5 billion yuan, accounting for more than 70% of the domestic market and more than 30% of the international market.
Further, Dr Janjua also listed the research field that ASAB is involved in, “including biofertilizers, biotic and abiotic stress on plants, post-harvest techniques, efficient drip irrigation systems, and so on,” which was echoed by Wang Wei, Deputy Director of the Promotion Office of Weifang National Comprehensive Pilot Agriculture Zone, “The utilization rate of soil testing and formula fertilization technology in Weifang has reached more than 95.4%, the area of water and fertilizer integration has exceeded 1.2 million mu (0.08 million hectare), and the utilization rate of crop straw has reached 93%. Through the use of agricultural machinery, daily soil plowing, deep loosening, and fumigation can not only effectively improve the soil structure to increase fertility, but also effectively kill pathogenic fungi, bacteria, weeds, soil-borne viruses, and pests.”
Regarding the agricultural machinery cooperation mentioned at the signing ceremony, Wang Wei indicated that “as the ‘China agricultural machinery city’, there are more than 650 agricultural machinery manufacturers in Weifang, with the total power of agricultural machinery has reached 10.82 million kilowatts, and the comprehensive mechanization level of main crop cultivation and harvesting has reached 92.7%. Among them, the most advanced Qingzhou smart glass greenhouse applies more than 120 patented technologies, which is 50% more energy-efficient than Dutch greenhouses, “all of which are experiences that we are so happy to share with Pakistan.”