Pak-China Agriculture Ties

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Pakistan Agricultural Research Council (PARC) and Yunnan Academy of Agricultural Sciences (YAAS) signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to promote agricultural cooperation between Pakistan and China at an online ceremony held in Beijing and Kunming. Pakistan Ambassador to China, Moin ul Haque, and President of YAAS, Dr. Jihua Wang signed the MoU. Joint Working Group on Agriculture under CPEC is working on Joint Action Plan and recently China-Pakistan Green Corridor was also launched to further streamline cooperation in the areas of food security, new seed development, crops yield, corporate farming, irrigation etc. Under the MoU a Plant Protection Innovation Joint Sub-Laboratory will be set up in PARC through support of YASS. Both sides will work to strengthen cooperation in cross-border agricultural pest research, talent cultivation and scientific and technological training. It is to be noted that the agreement is an extension of a 2014 cooperation between PARC and PARC. China has high-quality expertise in drip irrigation in areas where water is scarce. Keeping in view Pakistan’s perennial water shortage, the country needs a more modern method of agriculture that China can help us in. There has been some improvement in bilateral trade in the past couple of years but still the balance of trade between the two countries is still overwhelmingly in China’s favor. This needs correction with more exports from Pakistan. Lastly, better collaboration in the services sector such as skill development in tourism, education, and information technology must be explored and promoted. Earlier to this, Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto appears to understand that Pakistan at present needs to maintain a balance in its ties with the US and China, as well as Russia. The foreign minister’s task is to overcome this and do everything possible to benefit Pakistan. This will involve some delicate balancing of egos and good diplomatic skills. The US is wary of China’s engagements in Pakistan, but at the same time is also a major source of assistance both in fiscal terms and in weapons to the country. Pakistan has to walk the tightrope of keeping all its patrons and partners happy.

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