ISLAMABAD:The Huazhong Agricultural University of China has decided to collaborate with Pakistan Agricultural Research Council (PARC) in the field of agricultural research, and in this regard a ‘letter of intention’ was signed in Islamabad on Friday.

“We aspire to enhance joint agricultural research projects and agricultural trade with Pakistan”, says President of Huazhong Agricultural University, Li Zhaohu after signing the letter of intention.

A joint delegation of Huazhong Agricultural University (HZAU) and the Chinese Academy of Agriculture Sciences of China visited the National Agricultural Research Centre.

Both the institutions are leading agricultural research in China and are globally recognised, holding prominent positions in world rankings. HZAU has a strong background of agriculture and bioscience.

President of Huazhong Agricultural University presented an overview of the university’s history and functionality, and emphasized potential areas of collaboration with PARC, specifically focusing on genetic improvement of crops, vegetable molecular breeding and quality improvement, infectious diseases of animals, and genetic enhancement of aquaculture.

He also highlighted the importance of scientific collaboration in genetic diversity, biotechnology, germplasm exchange and conservation. Mr Li expressed the hope of strengthening collaborative research on agricultural advancement and promoting agricultural trade with Pakistan.

PARC Chairman Dr Ghulam Mohammad Ali, made a presentation on Pakistan’s agriculture and role of PARC in ensuring national food and nutritional security, and also emphasized the importance of collaborative research in the agriculture and food sectors between Pakistan and China, leveraging Chinese expertise and the abundant and diverse resources of Pakistan for the mutual benefit of both nations.

Dr Mohammad Ali underscored the importance of collaborative endeavors with Chinese universities in advancing high-tech agricultural research to promote sustainability in Pakistan.

He also indicated that numerous scientists in the country have acquired expertise and honed their skills from top-tier Chinese institutions.

The representative from Chinese Academy of Agriculture Sciences (CAAS) provided a comprehensive overview of the university’s agricultural research initiatives.

Notably, the presentation underscored the enduring collaborative efforts between PARC and CAAS, reflecting the shared commitment for advancing agricultural research.

The delegation later visited various research facilities and institutes including National Institute for Genomics and Advanced Biotechnology (NIGAB), Horticultural Research Institute (HRI) and Plant Genetic Resources Institute (PGRI), and expressed admiration for the ongoing research initiatives and activities at NARC.

Recently, with the approval of the Chinese Committee of the Exchange Mechanism of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) Consortium of Universities and China Association of Higher Education (CAHE), HZAU officially joined the Exchange Mechanism of CPEC Consortium of Universities.

CPEC Consortium of Universities was jointly initiated by China Association of Higher Education and Higher Education Commission of Pakistan. As an important platform for exchanges and cooperation, the consortium currently consists of 83 well-known universities in China and Pakistan. So far, it has held four exchange mechanism conferences.

In recent years, HZAU has cooperated with many Pakistani universities and institutes, such as University of Agriculture Faisalabad (UAF), Muhammad Nawaz Sharif University Multan, University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences, Lahore, National Institute for Biotechnology and Genetic Engineering (NIBGE), Pir Mehr Ali Shah, and Government College University, Faisalabad (GCUF). Further, HZAU initiated and held three BRI Sino-Pakistan Agriculture Forums, and was approved as one of the BRI Sino-Pakistan Joint Institutes of Cotton Industry Innovation.

Published in Dawn, November 11th, 2023

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