Pak-China tie-up forges agri innovations

Guizhou University’s programme empowers researchers to bridge agricultural gaps across nations

May 02, 2024


Hafiz Muhammad Usman, currently a post-doctoral fellow at Guizhou University, expresses deep gratitude for the opportunity to introduce advanced agricultural technologies acquired in China to his native Pakistan.

Since its inception in 2017, Guizhou University has spearheaded the “PhD Village Chief” programme, extending invitations to doctoral students, postgraduates, and undergraduates to partake in agricultural activities. They are encouraged to apply their scientific research achievements to foster agricultural development in rural areas, particularly in their hometowns.

This year marks a significant milestone as the university welcomes foreign participants for the first time. According to Wang Yong, professor and deputy director of the department of plant protection in the College of Agriculture at Guizhou University, the programme attracted five post-doctoral fellows from Pakistan and India.

Usman commenced his studies in China in 2017, earning his doctorate from Huazhong Agricultural University in Hubei Province. Opting to continue his research journey, he embarked on post-doctoral research at Guizhou University in 2023. Currently, he serves as a fungal disease expert in the plant protection department.

The College of Agriculture at Guizhou University is at the forefront of key research areas, focusing on developing eco-friendly pesticides, combating crop diseases and pests, and ensuring the quality and safety of agricultural products.

Pepper cultivation is a significant agricultural endeavour in Guizhou. However, recent years have seen a decline in pepper production due to the development of resistance to fungicides by plant pathogens.

Usman and his research team conducted extensive province-wide sampling and experiments to identify effecvtive chemical alternatives for controlling drug-resistant fungal populations and enhancing pepper yields.

Returning to Pakistan for the winter vacation in January, Usman spent one-and-a-half months at home. During this period, he visited local agricultural departments and villages, revealing a deficit in local farmers’ proficiency in managing plant diseases and pests.

In response, Usman organised three seminars, with the support of local agricultural research institutes, reaching over 500 local farmers. He shared sustainable methods for controlling plant diseases and offered practical guidance on pest recognition and pesticide preparation directly in the fields.

Maqsood Ahmed, another postdoctoral fellow and participant in the “PhD Village Chief” programme at Guizhou University, hails from a major agricultural province in Pakistan renowned for producing cereals and fruits such as maize, wheat, mango, and banana.

During the winter break, Ahmed returned to his hometown to explore the challenges hindering local agricultural development. He conducted several seminars at local universities, exchanging advanced technologies learned in China with Pakistani faculty and students. Ahmed advocated for green pest control techniques tailored to local crops.

Highlighting techniques such as biological control, pheromone traps, microbial pesticides, and natural predators, Ahmed pointed out their eco-friendly and sustainable approach, minimising synthetic chemical usage and ecological harm.

“We will continue to engage in international volunteer activities, bolster agricultural technique exchanges with foreign research teams, and contribute to the agricultural development of our Belt and Road partners,” remarked Pan Xuejun, dean of the College of Agriculture at Guizhou University.

To date, over 16,000 teachers and students from Guizhou University have participated in the programme, playing a pivotal role in the province’s poverty alleviation efforts.


Published in The Express Tribune, May 2nd, 2024.

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