BEIJING-The University of Agriculture, Faisalabad (UAF) and the Institute of Plant Protection, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Science (IPPCAAS) signed a LoI in Beijing for establishing the Pakistan-China joint laboratory for crop pest management. “The two sides will kick start the operation of the joint laboratory and carry out tests, demonstrations, and joint research on integrated disease control technologies for crop pests and diseases of common concern, as well as technical personnel training and personnel exchange and training,” according to IPPCAAS.
“Pakistan suffers a lot from the pest problem. For example, the white fly is affecting cotton, citrus, guava, etc. When our fruits and vegetables are being exported to different Middle East countries, sometimes they are rejected due to the presence of these fruit flies and residues of pesticides. Out of the 1,300 molecules of pesticides registered in Pakistan. Not a single molecule is able to control the white fly,” Prof. Muhammad Jalal Arif, Chairman, the Department of Entomology of UAF told media. He said that Pakistan is also facing the issue of economic threshold level and economic injury level. “When we decide to manage or control any pests, we must go by pest scouting, pest monitoring, and assessment of pest population. When they exceed a certain number, we decide on the pesticide application, which we help our different equipment and tools. In the last 75 years, we have an old threshold and injury level, which should be revised in days to come,” he added.
According to Prof Muhammad Jafar Jaskani, Director, Office of Research, Innovation, and Commercialisation of UAF, this collaboration is part of Pakistan’s efforts towards climate-smart agriculture. “It would be good to secure the food for future generations. So genetic change, use of biotechnology— these are the tools which can make the food secure in both countries,” he said. The collaboration with the University of Faisalabad holds national significance for Pakistan. “Faisalabad is the city of textile. The presence of a special economic zone calls for augmented research to underpin its industrial development. We also have the Confucius Institute which has cultivated 6,000 students who have passed different levels of Chinese language and can act as a bridge between the two sides of the cooperation. Located in the centre of Pakistan, it is easy for us to reach farmers in different places in the country,” said Dr Abid Ali from UAF Department of Entomology.