Sino-Pak cooperation on tropical arid non-wood forest making Gwadar green

In Gwadar, the ‘shining pearl’ of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), scientists from China and Pakistan are developing various kinds of plants adapt to the local conditions to make the port city on the sandy land green.

So far, nearly 100,000 seedlings of bananas, dates, orchids and figs have been cultivated there under the Belt and Road Engineering Research Center for Tropical Arid Non-wood Forest, which is jointly launched by Central South University of Forestry and Technology, China Overseas Ports Holding Company Pakistan (Pvt.) Ltd. and Yulin Holdings in 2018.

Now, increasingly more Sino-Pak cooperation is happening under the research center in Gwadar. Pakistani universities including University of Karachi, Indus University and University of Agriculture Faisalabad have participated in the research.

According to Dr. Muhammad Yousaf Adnan, Assistant Professor, Department of Botany, University of Karachi, researchers from China and Pakistan are working together to turn the barren lands and drought areas, especially Gwadar and other coastal areas into green lands. “In this way, we can combat the effects of global warming and climate change. Now a very magnificent and well-developed laboratory has been developed in Gwadar, and tissue culture laboratory experiments have been conducted there. We are cultivating such varieties there which fulfill the drought environment,” he said.

“Most of the local people in the coastal areas have no proper source of income. When I went to Gwadar last year in an exchange event, I saw with my own eyes that local people were buying seedlings and plants that were prepared in the tissue culture lab, and they were planting them in their area. The local people were taking big benefit from it,” Dr. Muhammad Yousaf Adnan told CEN.

“I am 100% hopeful that the cooperation will give many benefits to the economy of Pakistan and China, particularly the Pakistani economy. If we are successful in this purpose, Gwadar will be a model of how we can green an area under the environmental stress,” Dr. Muhammad Yousaf Adnan remarked with confidence.

“We should plant such plants in Gwadar or our tropical arid environment which will not only provide shade, oxygen, carbon dioxide regulation, and environmental benefits and we will also be able to earn through them. We should also observe benefits of our local communities and farming communities,” Dr. Irfan Ahmed Associate Professor, University of Agriculture Faisalabad, said. According to him, some promising results have been made like now they can grow bananas and harvested there for the first time.

Besides joint research, personnel exchange is also an important part of the cooperation. “Through the student exchange program, Chinese teachers and students will come to Indus University, and they will understand the environment, agriculture and culture here. In the same way, Pakistani students and teachers will also go to China and they will benefit from this university,” said Khalid Amin Sheikh, President, Indus University.