BEIJING-Speakers at a webinar discussed ways and means to further enhance cooperation in the agriculture sector between Pakistan and China. “Agriculture sector forms an important theme of CPEC whereby an effective cooperation strategy between Pakistan and China can prove to be greatly beneficial for both countries,” said Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research Syed Fakhar Imam. In his remarks at the webinar organized by China Economic Net (CEN) he said, agriculture sector in Pakistan was also an untapped potential market and industry where investment and partnership potentials were existing.

For Pakistan specifically, dividends could come in the form of new export opportunities, improved technology, private investment flows and growth for local enterprises within the agri-business sector, Syed added. Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan Nong Rong made an opening speech at the webinar and said that it was of great significance and timing as it was focused on seed industry, agricultural product processing and agricultural investment.

“We will facilitate Pakistani exports of cherry, onion, potato and other agricultural products to China, actively promote the construction of foot-and-mouth disease free zones and help Pakistan bring beef and mutton products into the Chinese market,” Nong told the webinar.

Pakistani Ambassador to China Moin ul Haque also addressed the event and said Pakistan is a leading country in the production of wheat, cotton, rice, sugarcane, mangoes and milk. They are the fourth largest producer of milk. They also have a vibrant livestock sector, leather, meat and poultry production, he added. Fareena Mazhar, Secretary of Pakistani Board of Investment, told the webinar that the natural resource endowments between Pakistan and China remained complementary, laying a solid basis for expanding cooperation and driving Pakistan’s agricultural progress through adopting advanced technologies in the future.

Touching on the cotton yield difference between China and Pakistan with the similar planting area, Zhang Rui, Director Center for Molecular Biology of Crops at China Academy of Agricultural Sciences, said China has more advanced biological breeding technology for cotton, high-quality cottonseed production technology, and high-yield and efficient cultivation and management techniques for cotton.

With the theme `China-Pakistan Agricultural Technology Cooperation and Prospects`, the webinar was jointly sponsored by China Economic Net, the Institute of Peace and Diplomatic Studies and an English daily under the guidance of the Chinese Embassy in Pakistan and the Pakistani Embassy in China, and brought together nearly 300 participants both from China and Pakistan.

Meanwhile, a young Pakistani trader based in the Keqiao District of Shaoxing city, Zhejiang province of China, will import 1000 metric tonnes of pine nuts from Pakistan this year.

“I have already imported around 200 tonnes of pine nuts from Pakistan and I am fully confident to achieve my target,” Yar Muhammad Niazi, CEO, Shaoxing Aiza Trading Company, said on Friday.

The young Pakistani importer, who has been carrying out business in Keqiao, Shaoxing for the last five years, informed that he imports pine nuts from Pakistan and Afghanistan in the raw material shape and then supply to different buyers in Zhejiang province and other parts of China. He said that his company is also planning to import walnuts and peanuts from Pakistan, adding, “I am motivating various Pakistani exporters in this regard and willing to provide a platform in China enabling them to sell their products” while commenting on Free Trade Agreement (FTA) Phase-II between Pakistan and China, he opined that it has helped Pakistani traders and businessmen. Now they have got relief on a large number of items with regard to tariff and value added tax.

China, he said, is a big market and Pakistani exporters could take advantage of the facilities under the FTA Phase-II. Yar Muhammad Niazi said that Pakistani pine nuts are very popular dry fruit in China particularly in the winter season and it has a large demand. Pakistani pine nut or Chilgoza comes from Pakistan’s western region Parachinar. Historicallly, Pakistan has been a traditional exporter of pine nuts, most of which are sold to China through the Khunjerab Port in Kashgar, northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region. Pakistan pine nut is of the best quality in the world with its large kernel, thin skin, high nutritional value and medicinal value. According to a pine nut supplier in China, some pine nuts take up to three years to mature. They are also difficult to harvest, which justifies their high price.