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Pakistan's chilis to further spice up China-Pakistan friendship



People's Daily, one of the most influential media outlets in China, has published a story entitled "Enablers of Balanced, Coordinated and Inclusive Global Development". China has scaled up its efforts to propel the Global Development Initiative (GDI), which is based on multilateralism, and upholds the spirit of cooperation, partnership and openness.

The initiative stresses the importance of promoting cooperation in eight priority areas -- poverty alleviation, food security, vaccines and pandemic control, development financing, climate action and green development, industrialization, the digital economy, and connectivity -- opening up a path for expeditiously realizing the 2030 Agenda.

The story highlights a project for contracting of chili farming undertaken by Sinomach subsidiary China Machinery Engineering Corporation (CMEC) and Sichuan Litong Food Company. The project is a part of the China-Pakistan Agricultural Cooperation Pilot Zone, and a concrete action taken to heat up Pakistan's chili industry.

Chili is a tropical and sub-tropical plant which requires warmer weather, and Pakistan has ideal conditions for its cultivation. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Pakistan is among the top 10 chili-producing nations due to a combination of warm and humid yet dry weather and well-drained sandy loam with rich organic content.

Chili field in Pakistan [Photo/CMEC]

However, Pakistan's chili production has long time been lower than the world average. Aimed at solving the problem of low chili production in Pakistan, the project also addresses farmers' concerns about marketing.

As China has become the world's leading chili and pepper consuming country, there is ample room for China-Pakistan cooperation.

Based on planted acreage, the project will further develop downstream deep processing industries and create more employment opportunities.

A China-Pakistan food industrial park will be established to help Pakistan boost processed chili exports. A complete industrial chain to deep process related raw material will be formed close by, which is expected to create hundreds of thousands of jobs.

The processed chili will be exported from Pakistan, generating revenue from foreign markets and upgrading industrial structure in Pakistan.

As of March 2022, as many as 3,000 mu (2,000,000 sq m) of land has been brought under chili cultivation, and six demonstration growing bases have been established on the land. Harvest is expected to begin in late May.

A Pakistani farmer and child work in a chili field. [Photo/CMEC]

"We have greatly benefited from agricultural technical cooperation with China, which has brought Pakistan important experience and guidance," said Khalid Mansoor, special assistant of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) to Prime Minister Imran Khan.

Mansoor noted that agricultural cooperation is a priority in the new stage of CPEC construction, and the two sides will continue to pool resources in this sector and explore a new model of win-win cooperation. He also added that the project should ensure that everyone benefits from the opportunities and fruits of development.

The project's executive CMEC will always support the CPEC construction, which epitomizes decades of strong and robust Pakistan-China ties. Launched in 2015, the CPEC has transformed Pakistan's economic landscape, creating millions of jobs and opportunities for development and lifting countless people from extreme poverty.

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