Grain-forage rice to improve Pakistan’s land utilisation: Zhang Qin

ISLAMABAD  – President of the International Exchange and Cooperation Branch of China Seed Association, Zhang Qin said that a new rice variety would be introduced with cooperation of Chinese scientists to cultivate in Pakistan which could be used for both grain and forage.
“Pakistan is a major rice-growing and exporting country. China’s high-quality and high-yield rice varieties have been widely promoted in Pakistan. Pakistan has sufficient sunlight and fewer plant diseases and pests, making it easier to obtain high yields,” said Zhang Qin who is also the CEO of Win-all Hi-Tech Seed Co., Ltd. Win-all Hi-Tech has been doing seed cooperation with Pakistan for almost 25 years. “We entered the Pakistani market in 2007. The growth period of the first variety we introduced to Pakistan was 20 days shorter than that of the local variety, and the output is more than 100% higher. It caused a great flutter among rice farmers in Sindh, Pakistan at that time, she told China Economic Net (CEN).
Zhang Qin informed that the company is now cooperating with scientists from Chinese Academy of Sciences to cultivate a new rice variety that can be used for both grain and forage. They use the genes of brittle culm and efficient nitrogen utilization to transform current rice varieties, so that the grain of plants can be eaten by humans, and the straw can feed cattle and sheep. “Now we are testing this dual-purpose rice variety extensively in China. The straw is very tasty for livestock. Lambs, in particular, gain weight quickly while eating it. Such breed can greatly improve land utilization.” Pakistan is also a country with developed animal husbandry.
Zhang Qin said that their next step is to combine this technology with varieties suitable for growing in Pakistan. “I believe that this type of rice will be promoted in Pakistan in the near future.”
“In the next step, we will use China’s advanced molecular breeding technology to cultivate new rice varieties with excellent traits such as heat resistance, nitrogen utilization efficiency, and herbicide tolerance. Our goal is to provide Pakistani farmers with rice varieties that are tasty, high-yield, easy to grow, disease-resistant and suitable for mechanization,” she added. In the first quarter of this fiscal year, Pakistan’s export of rice rose by 17.5% to $423 million. According to Shamsul Islam Khan, vice president of Karachi Chamber of Commerce, “Since we started importing Chinese high-yield rice seeds, the growers that used to produce 40 to 50 mounds now produce 100 mounds. Rice production in Pakistan has improved a lot, and we are exporting rice.”

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