Chinese hybrid canola oil seeds bring ray of hope to Pakistani farmers
ISLAMABAD, March 14 (Gwadar Pro) – Muhammad Sadiq has been managing a vast expanse of land owned by his landlord, Nisar Cheema, in the rural outskirts of Gujranwala, a central city in Punjab, for several decades. Nisar Cheema, a prominent landlord in the region, made a unique decision to cultivate hybrid canola oil on one hundred acres of his fertile land, setting him apart from his rivals.
Muhammad Sadiq is pleased with the decision, as the tall stems of the hybrid-canola have produced cheerful results. "This seed was produced after research by Chinese and Pakistani agriculture companies, and I am quite satisfied with the crop results," said Sadiq.
He added that the hybrid seed HC021c has doubled the production compared to local canola, and the fields look denser. "Furthermore, this canola is cheap to harvest, and it can be used for edible oil, and one of its components can be utilised as animal fodder," revealed Sadiq.
Zhou Xusheng, director of a Chinese seed company that developed the HC021c variety, told Gwadar Pro that the introduction of HC021c is a result of collaboration in the agriculture sector between China and Pakistan.
He noted that it is a significant success as it will not only reduce Pakistan's edible oil import bill but is also better for health. "The seed has been produced after ten years of research, and this will not end here. China will also transfer the technology related to the research to make Pakistan farmers self-sufficient in canola oil production to meet their needs in the country," said Zhou.
He said farmers have welcomed and appreciated this new technology as they have been looking for solutions to increase production and profits.
Years ago, a lack of high-quality and low-cost edible oil was also a burden for China, as it was for Pakistan. However, the introduction of double zero canola breeding technology brought opportunities for self-sufficiency in China.
The Chinese company and its Pakistani partner repeated such success in Pakistan under China-Pakistan agricultural cooperation. In 2009, Chinese and Pakistani breeders joined hands in developing a climate-smart variety. Extensive testing and breeding work was carried out. With continuous investment over ten years, HC-021C was registered by PARC as a true double zero canola cultivar. The introduction of HC-021C provided an opportunity for Pakistan to reduce its edible oil import bill and establish a local downstream industrial chain.
Throughout Pakistan, the two companies will provide more than 20000 farmers with training sessions on the difference between Raya/Mustard and true Canola and its economic value by 2023.
To resolve the technical challenges during variety cultivation in Pakistan, both companies are working together to optimize the whole production technology under the local climate.
Nasir Cheema said China being an all-weather friend of Pakistan has brought many benefits to the country under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and the introduction of HC021 seed is one of them.
“Harvesting of this hybrid canola seed will increase the production and meet the needs for producing oil for humans and fodder for animals and reduce around four billion US dollars import bill of edible oil for Pakistan economy,” said Cheema.
Cheema said he plans to harvest this hybrid canola seed on the rest of his 265 acres of land.