Expansion of fig production as part of Pak-China agricultural cooperation


Compared to traditional crops, the fig as an emerging market crop can obviously play a greater role in boosting farmers’ income.

“Currently, a small experiment to improve the environment using fig soil has yielded remarkable results,” said Dr. Abdul Ghaffar Shar, researcher at the Yangling Fig Research Institute in China.

Eric Fang, Chairman of Yangling Fig Industry Development Company Ltd, reiterated his point: “In the future, in addition to simple planting experiments, we hope to bring a full set of engineering systems to Pakistan.”

There are more than 20 varieties of figs in our demonstration garden, of which two outstanding varieties have an average yield of two tons per mu (0.067 hectares). Also, with a short growing cycle, they can be picked in as little as five months, Eric Fang said in an interview with China Economic Net.

“Actually, it’s just the average yield of the first year of harvest, a few years later the yield can peak at 5 tons per mu,” he added.

According to official figures, fig cultivation in Pakistan is about 875,000 hectares and the total production can reach 7,200,000 tons. With an average production of about 8.23 ​​tons per hectare, the yield cannot meet the needs of the entire country, so Pakistan imports a large number of figs from Iran, Afghanistan, Turkey and other Central Asian countries. Increasing local production is the top priority of the Sino-Pakistani fig cooperation.

Considering that figs originated in the Arabian Peninsula, Pakistan’s high temperatures and abundant sunshine are already suited to their growth. The aim here is to promote the concept of “facility agriculture”. Our farm greenhouses, water-saving irrigation systems and automatic control systems can withstand well the extreme climatic conditions that can occur. Temperature controlled greenhouses can adjust the temperature whether it encounters high or low temperatures.

If the local soil lacks one or more trace elements necessary for plants, an integrated water and fertilizer system can replenish nutrients in time.

In addition, in view of the water shortage in Pakistan, Yangling has developed a whole series of targeted measures; With water-saving irrigation systems, precise control of the water is no longer a problem. If a branch of Yangling Agricultural Demonstration Zone in Pakistan can be set up in the future, we can slowly develop a complete planting system that is suitable for Pakistan based on local conditions and that has the least risk and cost,” stressed Eric Fang.

dr Shar also mentioned the problems he encountered in Pakistan: “Chemical fertilizer abuse is the most important factor in reducing yields. Most local farmers lack systematic agricultural knowledge, so they believe that the more fertilizer applied, the better the crops will thrive.

On the contrary, it can increase pests and diseases and reduce yields. Instead of using harmful pesticides and chemical fertilizers, it is better to change the planting mode, e.g. B. To use new nutrients such as straw and biochar to achieve the effect of increasing yield and protecting the environment.”

In addition to yield, quality is also an issue that yangling fig growing areas are very concerned about.

According to Eric Fang, many varieties have now achieved a high yield, under this premise the quality should be improved and the output value should be further increased in order to increase income. China and Pakistan also have a lot of scope for cooperation here. “Not only introducing China’s superior varieties to Pakistan, but also improving local fig quality.” Moreover, industrialization is the only way to increase production value.

Apart from the existing by-products such as jam and dried fruit, Yangling Fig Industry Development Company Ltd has also developed fig cosmetics including shampoo, shower gel, perfume and face mask, and has cooperated with several biopharmaceutical companies in Xi’an, Shaanxi Province to develop nutritional supplements and pharmaceuticals from figs. Eric Fang said, “Considering that Sino-Pakistani cooperation requires complementary advantages, we hope to fully utilize Pakistan’s advantages in terms of land, manpower and photovoltaic energy and set up a manufacturing center in Pakistan in the future.” Due to the epidemic, we can start related online staff training in Pakistan.

Figs have high economic value and are heavily processed, so in addition to the fresh fruit, the processing industry is also promising. I believe the future of this industry is bright. “What Dr. As for Shar, his primary goal is to use the advanced agricultural knowledge he has acquired in China for the benefit of his hometown. He mentioned that fig-growing areas in Pakistan are mainly concentrated in the north. Pakistan has vast desert areas and many places have sandy loam soils best suited for fig growth, so he hopes these areas can be fully utilized. Additionally, local farmers generally do not know much about the commercial value of fig by-products and disseminating relevant knowledge to them as soon as possible is a top priority.

“I think in the future Pakistan and China will cooperate more and more in this area within the framework of the CPEC. I assume that the Government of Pakistan can unite the Yangling Demonstration Zone to launch a large-scale agricultural cooperation project to help Pakistani farmers who don’t understand the expertise so that they can truly realize the value of the fig industry.”


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