BEIJING: China continues to assist Pakistan in various fields including agriculture in an effort to increase its capacity to feed the entire population of the country.
“Agriculture in Pakistan still relies heavily on labor and my aim is to promote advanced agricultural technology and hybrid rice to increase rice production and reduce the burden on farmers,” said a young Chinese agronomist, Dai Yingnan.
Dai has been promoting hybrid rice cultivation in Pakistan for three years.
Born in a village in Liaoning province in northeastern China, Dai grew corn and rice with his parents when he was young and had a deep understanding of the difficulties of farmers.
“Following my teacher’s advice, I chose to study agronomy at Hunan Agricultural University,” Dai told the China Economic Net on Saturday. “Because some students will choose this major, which has a strong relationship with agriculture, it would be a safer choice for me to go to this university.”
Dai regretted his choice for a long time because he was of the view that he would become a farmer after receiving a four-year education in college.
The turning point came when Dai, as a representative of his university, had the opportunity to talk with Yuan Longping, known as the father of hybrid rice.
“When I am confused about the agronomic prospect, a respectable person told me that agriculture is the foundation of a country,” he said. “At the same time, it’s a slow-growing industry that demands a lot of time and people who are devoted to it.”
After graduating in 2017, Dai received an offer at Yuan Longping High-Tech Agricultural Company and was then sent to Pakistan to promote hybrid rice.
Previously in his career, Dai never thought he would like the job until he was stranded at home for almost half a year because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“I really miss farmland in Pakistan,” Dai said. According to him, conducting research and promoting hybrid rice planting in Pakistan is not an easy task.
Of the thousands of seeds, Dai must choose the one that is most suitable for the local environment. This task itself requires years of experience.
One of the best ways to find the right seeds is to plant hybrid rice on a test plot, observe it carefully and record details of the planting process from sowing and flowering to final harvest.
“A missing or incorrect record will cause trial failure and it usually takes at least half a year,” he said. Pakistan’s hot weather is another big challenge for the boy because the temperature can reach nearly 50 degrees in the summer.
During the annual harvest, hybrid rice yields appear to be higher than locally grown rice and sometimes even twice in comparison, Dai said.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 31st, 2020.
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