Pakistan looking forward to cooperating with China on banana cultivation

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“In China, banana has been cultivated since 2,000 years ago. China’s contribution to the international banana market is around 4.5%. However Pakistan’s contribution is less than 0.5%. We are far behind. I think China and Pakistan can cooperate through collaborative research. We can progress and get benefit from each other,” Nosherwan Haider, CEO, Sprouts Biotech Laboratories, said in an interview with China Economic Net.

Up till today, Sino-Pak cooperation on banana is still very limited. Lack of high-quality seeds, advanced cultivation technology and logistic facility remains a large obstacle to boosting banana production and exports in Pakistan, for which Pakistani researchers and farmers are looking forward to getting support from China.

“The main problem we have here is the choice of good seeds. And, the rate of fertilizers is very high here. We lack good seeds. Nowadays we have a kind of seeds here known as tissue culture seed, which is also imported from China. We should choose good seeds. China is helping us in this already. But if we receive more help then we can achieve better results,” Imran Shah, a farmer from NQ Farms said.

When it comes to planting technology, research on tissue culture of banana is being carried out in some labs in Pakistan. “The production of tissue culture banana is three times higher than that of our conventional banana. Conventional banana harvests in 16 to 18 months while our tissue culture banana fruits in the seventh month. Tissue culture banana is disease free and harsh weather tolerant. The production of plants produced in our lab lasts throughout the year. People get a lot of benefit from it,” Nosherwan Haider, CEO, Sprouts Biotech Laboratories told CEN.

However, as Nosherwan Haider sees it, in most areas of Pakistan, the growing of banana is not as per proper method, which makes banana production not as high as it should be. Pakistani researchers long for Chinese technologies that may help Pakistan further improve local banana yield.
“A lot of new banana varieties are introduced in China. Flavored bananas are also emerging from China. China is working on high yielding varieties that have high production and the capacity to produce the same kind of fruits in all weathers. We should exchange technology with China through collaboration with them,” Nosherwan Haider said.

According to Ibrahim Nizamani, a Pakistani banana exporter, at present they are exporting bananas to Iran, Iraq and Afghanistan. China, as a huge market in the world, definitely is a dream destination for Pakistan’s banana exports. But Pakistanis have difficulties in banana preservation and transportation.

“The post-harvest management system should be taught, like how to harvest bananas, how to pack bananas, and how to transfer bananas to markets. 30% to 40 % of our fruits are destroyed during the process of harvesting and transportation. You have also seen in market that banana has black spots on it or gets soft from some areas. This is how the fruit is wasted,” Nosherwan Haider said. “We don’t have cold storage in our farms. If we have a packing house or a cold storage system, the quality of bananas can be improved more,” Ibrahim Nizamani added. Besides, they all expressed their desire for stable electricity supply to make research and guarantee banana quality during the whole process.

Enhancing Sino-Pak cooperation on banana cultivation is expected to bring win-win outcomes to both countries in the days to come. “China and Pakistan can collaborate through joint research. We can progress and get benefit from each other. In Pakistan we have a lot of land. We have good weather. We have labor force. China has technology. We can benefit from China by getting some technologies related to agricultural practices and hybrid varieties. China will also get benefit and we can export bananas to China through China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC),” Nosherwan Haider said.