WEBINAR HELD TO PROMOTE SINO-PAK COOPERATION IN ANIMAL HUSBANDRY SECTOR

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BEIJING, May 4 (DNA): A webinar on Chinese and Pakistani animal husbandry and fishery cooperation was held to achieve future targets in this sector, according to a report published by Gwadar Pro.

Leading experts and companies in livestock and fishery sectors from both countries discussed bilateral cooperation in the educational and industrial programmes in this regard, and possible measures to enact such cooperation.

Syed Fakhar Imam, Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research, pointed out “multiple challenges” in tapping the rich repertoire of livestock and fishery resources in Pakistan.

He urged Pakistan to modernise its livestock and fishery industries by upgrading infrastructure and building a substantial supply chain through joint enterprises with China, technology transfer and talent cultivation.

The challenges are echoed by Dr Muhammad Akram, President, Fisheries Development Board, Ministry of Pakistan National Food Security and Research (MNFSR), and Dr Khurshid Ahmad, Animal Husbandry Commissioner, MNFSR.

According to Dr Ahmad, Pakistan is home to 208 million food animals with an annual milk yield exceeding 60 million tons and an annual production of 20 billion poultry eggs.

He said, the quality and yields of such livestock and fishery products can be further improved with Chinese technologies to build capacity, and with joint research efforts in genetic improvement and other animal and fishery sciences.

Experts and businesses discussed current and future cooperation in the research, industry, and trade developments in the two sectors.

In terms of the livestock sector, Li Jinhui, Deputy Secretary General of China Animal Agriculture Association and President of China Broiler Alliance, said, “China is the largest importer of beef and a major importer of mutton and chicken. This presents enormous opportunities to Pakistan to enhance its beef and mutton exports.”

Despite huge potential of exports, Pakistan’s livestock division is plagued by animal diseases, notably the Foot-and-Mouth Disease (FMD), an infectious and sometimes fatal viral disease that affects cattle and goats etc., according to Zhang Baozhong, Chairman of China Overseas Ports Holding Company.

The concern of FMD was shared by Chen Yiyi, CEO of China’s Royal Group. Mr Chen displayed strong interest in working with Pakistani universities and companies to develop the buffalo industry through semen and embryo cooperation. But FMD poses a serious threat to the effort.

Shen Jin, Deputy General Manager of QYH Biotech Co., Ltd., cited FMD-free zones as an effective countermeasure against FMD. Under the MoU on combatting FMD signed between China and Pakistan in 2019, China will help Pakistan establish FMD-free zones in Punjab and Balochistan to ensure the health of the food animals.

Further measures include building animal vaccine plants and establishing a certification system. According to Dr He Cheng, Professor at College of Veterinary Medicine, China Agricultural University, said that the FMD free zones will boost Pakistan’s meat exports up to $12-15 billion.

In addition to FMD-free zones, Dr Masood Rabbani, Professor at University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences, sees great potential in academic and research cooperation such as genetic research in buffaloes and talents cultivation.

“Now we have (some) expertise available in the university, which can facilitate the private sector in adopting new technologies,” said Dr Masood Rabbani. Dr Ahrar Khan, Ex-dean at Faculty of Veterinary Science of University of Agriculture, Faisalabad, introduced several MoUs and programmes between Chinese and Pakistani universities to cultivate animal sciences talents and collaborate on the pharmaceutical industry.

Cooperation in the fishery sector is also promising. Ma Zhuojun, Director of International Cooperation at Chinese Academy of Fishery Sciences showed how China has achieved the sustainable aquaculture through the Aquaculture Improvement Projects (AIP). Mr Ma emphasised that the AIP project should be adapted locally and that it has great potential of application in Pakistan.

Huang Tianqing, Representative of Salmon Farming Innovation team at Heilongjiang River Fisheries Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Fishery Sciences, introduced how Pakistan can develop its salmon sector with Chinese breeding and cultivation technologies.

Dr Rehana Kauser, Director of Animal Sciences Institute at Pakistan Agriculture Research Council, elaborated on current cooperation projects with Chinese research institutes in fishing breeding and cultivation techniques, and expected broader collaboration with Chinses institutes in freshwater products processing and storage.

To facilitate bilateral cooperation in the animal husbandry and fishery sectors, Li Bijian, Consul General of China to Karachi, advised Chinese companies to conduct training and capacity building “on equal footing” with Pakistan, and he also urged Pakistan to ensure a safe and favourable business environment to attract more Chinese investments.

Farman Ullah Zarkoon, CEO of Balochistan Board of Investment and Trade (BBoLT), introduced the favourable business conditions including its highway network, three major international airports, and a very well-spread railway network.

He also pointed out the investment regime and incentives including tax reduction or exemption and licensing facilitation in the SZEs “which allows any kind of cooperation between the government and the private investors from other countries.”

Baboo Gulab, Former Chairman of Gwadar City Council, and Sadar Shoukat, President of Balochistan Economic Forum, also participated in the event.