14 Chinese investors to visit Gwadar to assess investment potential

At COPHC, we produce electricity by generator which is very expensive: Zhang Baozhong

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BEIJING: As many as 14 Chinese investors are coming to Gwadar to assess the investment potential of Gwadar and Balochistan next week, said Chairman of China Overseas Ports Holding Company (COPHC) Zhang Baozhong.

“In addition to Chinese, last year we received more than 17 ambassadors from the US, Canada, and countries from the European Union,” he said during a briefing.

He said that there were strong intentions from Chinese investors to invest $5 million to set up an oil refinery in Gwadar, adding, “Once the plan is materialized, job opportunities can be offered to the locals in addition to the induction of business activities. Other sectors such as lubricants and agriculture are also under consideration,” he added.

Zhang informed that during his stay in China, he has discussed the matter of meat export from Pakistan to the Chinese market and the government is willing to consider,

About development of the port, he said, “We spent $15 million to purchase five new cranes, replacing old ones in order to refurbish infrastructure at the port.

LPG Vessel being offloaded today and a container vessel to arrive in a day are testaments to accelerated port activities. These signals prognosticate good news for the future. However, more needs to be done.”

On a query, he said that so far, they have invested more than $300 million in Gwadar Port and Free Zone and added, important mega projects such as New International Airport, East Bay Expressway, Pakistan China Vocational Training Institute, China-Pakistan Friendship Hospital, and 1.2-MGD plant are some of the grants from the people of China for the local brothers of Gwadar.

Terming provision of electricity very important for development, he said, “At COPHC, we produce electricity by generator which is very expensive.”

Chinese investors are keen to shift their industries from China to Pakistan. Areas of investment are very diverse and include but not limited to refinery, assembly, petrochemical, and textile. However, without power, the shift might not be possible,” he opined.

He said the government has a plan to initiate the 300MW power plant project. But that is yet to be materialized. “I hope the power issue will be resolved soon.”

The Chairman recalled that in the past seven years of his stay in Gwadar, a lot has been achieved.

He witnessed close cooperation with the local community. “Our brotherly security forces have coordinated with us a lot. Because of their sincere efforts, I have been comfortable with the existing environment”, he acclaimed.

“Before I set foot on Gwadar, I was very depressed. There used to be no proper residence for Chinese people. Business activities were very limited. Nevertheless, now Gwadar has become famous and business activities have gained pace,” he clarified. Earlier, President of the International Exchange and Cooperation Branch of China Seed Association, Zhang Qin said that a new rice variety would be introduce 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

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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