Chinese experts help Pakistani farmers cultivate, export high-quality sesame

(People's Daily Online) 09:58, February 23, 2024

"The year 2023 was busy but rewarding," said Rana Asgar, a technician at the Pakistan-China Agricultural Cooperation Exchange Center, as he watched a ship loaded with the first batch of sesame seeds exported from Pakistan to China. Departing from Karachi, Pakistan's southern port city, the shipment marked a significant milestone in contract farming as the year drew to a close.

Thanks to a contract farming project between the center and Pakistani farmers, the challenges of low market demand, limited planting areas, and lack of competitiveness that Pakistan's traditional sesame crops faced are being gradually overcome.

To meet strong external demand for sesame, the center introduced high-quality sesame varieties and new cultivation technologies, boosting sesame cultivation in Pakistan.

A team led by Xi Jianlong, head of the sesame contract farming project, spent years surveying farms and selecting suitable seeds before encouraging farmers to experiment with growing sesame on a trial basis in 2022.

Xi Jianlong (center) talks with local farmers in a sesame field in Pakistan. (Photo/People’s Daily Online)

By 2023, the total area of sesame crops grown by participating farmers exceeded 600 mu (40 hectares).

Asgar, applying techniques he learned during his studies in China, has dedicated himself tirelessly to the project over the past year. He believes that paying attention to every detail in the fields is crucial for ensuring high yields and quality.

The project has shown that contract farming is effective in mitigating the impact of crop price fluctuations on farmers, allowing them to concentrate more on enhancing cultivation efficiency and yields.

Muhammad Khalid, a farmer from Sahiwal district in Punjab, Pakistan, reported a bumper harvest of more than 2,500 kilograms of sesame, exceeding his expectations.

With guidance from agricultural experts, local farmers have adopted new cultivation techniques, significantly boosting yields and incomes, Khalid told People's Daily.

"We see immense potential in this cooperation model in Pakistan," said Xi, adding that the center plans to expand sesame planting areas under the contract farming model, further enhance farmers' skills, and promote agricultural mechanization to boost the international competitiveness of Pakistani sesame.

(Web editor: Hongyu, Liang Jun)


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