China could help Pakistan to boost cucumber production: Rahat Sharif



BEIJING, June 28: Chinese biotech companies could help to boost Pakistan’s production capacity of cucumber and other vegetables through cooperative partnership, said Rahat Sharif, a Pakistani student at China’s Northwest Agriculture and Forestry University (NWAFU).

In an interview to China Economic Net (CEN), he said the Chinese researchers could come to Pakistan and make a field trip. They will be able to teach our students which seed to choose and how to cultivate based on different soils and climate, and tell the locals how to irrigate and use pesticides.”

After studying at NWAFU for three years, Sharif thinks that Pakistan can introduce China’s advanced technologies in agriculture sector, such as, the cultivation technology of wheat and rice, breeding techniques and irrigation techniques.

Now, Pakistan is suffering from the worst locust plague in the past 27 years. The Ministry of National Food Security & Research said Pakistan got a sum of foreign assistance worth $350 million from the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank for the anti-locust operations.

Pesticides don’t work very well to contain the locusts. According to Sharif, the top priority is to find locust breeding ground to curb the deleterious effects.

“The Chinese researchers can help Pakistan farmers to find the locust breeding grounds by using advanced technologies,” Sharif told CEN.

“Our lab at NWAFU conducts research of developing cucumber resistance against powdery mildew. The applied research has not only improved the production of cucumber but also the livelihood of local farmers,” he added.

Sharif, 28 years old, comes from Peshawar, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province. He has recently completed his MSc degree from NWAFU. “I started my research in 2017 in the lab of vegetable ecophysiology and biotechnology.

We do research on cucumber’s production, quality and response to different environmental stresses. My research focused particularly on the role of HD-ZIP gene family in cucumber’s growth and development under various abiotic and biotic stresses,” Sharif added.
“Our lab has developed several cucumber varieties and they were provided to local farmers in Shaanxi Province, which had successfully lifted some farmers out of poverty,” he said.

Sharif believes that his research will also help Pakistani farmers increase the production of cucumber and get rid of poverty.