Pakistani, Chinese Varsities inaugurate first-ever IRC

Staff Report

Islamabad: Prime Minister Imran Khan inaugurated the Intercropping Research Center (IRC) jointly established by Sichuan Agricultural University (SAU) and the Islamia University of Bahawalpur (IUB).
According to details, this is the first-ever national research center dedicated to intercropping within Pakistan.
The advanced ‘maize-soybean strip intercropping technology’ from China, and the close Sino-Pak agricultural cooperation were highly praised by the PM.
Muhammad Ali Raza, Pakistani post-doc from Sichuan Agricultural University, presented maize-soybean strip intercropping technology to PM Imran Khan. “The intercropping technology can use light so efficiently and produce two crops at one time. With new technologies like it, we can bring about revolution in the agriculture sector of Pakistan,” said PM Imran Khan at the farmers’ convention.
Intercropping, the cultivation of two or more crop species on the same land for a whole or specific period, is suitable for countries with large population and limited cultivated land like Pakistan.
Meanwhile, the technology is urgently needed by Pakistan as edible oil and oilseed are among the largest food and feed imports into the country.
Presently, Pakistan is importing 1.8 to 2.0 million tonnes of soybeans from other countries. Revitalizing soybean production may well be in order.
“Ali, a young Ph.D., who came from China, is the future of Pakistan. I acknowledge your mentor’s abilities because he has trained you very well,” PM Imran Khan said. At the convention, PM Imran Khan awarded Dr. Muhammad Ali Raza for his diligent and effective work.
Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar also appreciated maize-soybean strip intercropping technology and expressed his willingness to provide support for further promoting this technology in Pakistan.
In 2018, Dr. Muhammad Ali Raza started to promote maize-soybean strip intercropping technology in Pakistan under his Chinese professor Yang Wenyu’s guidance and support.
In the first half of 2021, the technology was being applied to 100 acres of land for demonstration throughout Punjab and Sindh, and achieved promising results after harvesting two weeks ago.
“Now, my first priority is to bring intercropping-specific maize and soybean varieties, as well as farming machinery from China to Pakistan. These things are desperately needed for achieving high yield in Pakistan,” Dr. Muhammad Ali Raza said.
“I will work like my Prime Minister has worked for his life. I will work with more passion with my professor Yang Wenyu and IUB Vice Chancellor Prof. Athar Mahboob’s support and respect,” Dr. Muhammad Ali Raza said with emotion.
Prof. Yang Wenyu was also inspired by PM Imran Khan’s recognition of their research work. “China and Pakistan are both facing the shortage of soybeans. I hope the research cooperation between China and Pakistan will contribute to plugging the gap in soybean supply and demand for both of us,” Prof. Yang Wenyu said.
In the future, focusing on high yield and high quality of intercropping crops, China-Pakistan cooperation in research, demonstration and promotion of variety selection, optimization of cultivation technology, plant protection and agricultural mechanization will be made in the Intercropping Research Center.