China and Pakistan Inaugurate New Air Cargo Routes, Bolstering Trade Relations and Agricultural Research Collaboration

China and Pakistan Inaugurate New Air Cargo Routes, Bolstering Trade Relations and Agricultural Research Collaboration

Strengthening the trade and economic ties between China and Pakistan, two additional air cargo routes have been recently launched, as per a statement by the Nanning Customs District of China. 

These new freight routes will establish direct connections between Nanning, the administrative center of Guangxi, a southwestern autonomous region in China, and the Pakistani cities of Karachi and Lahore. 

The dawn of May 16 marked the departure of the first freight flight from Nanning to Lahore, pioneering an air freight route between Guangxi and Pakistan. A day later, a second cargo route from Nanning to Karachi was inaugurated. 

According to the overseas business manager of Guangxi Civil Aviation Industry Development Co Ltd, the Nanning-Karachi line is slated for operations three times a week — on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, while the Nanning-Lahore route will have four weekly flights on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays. 

The Karachi and Lahore routes to Nanning will primarily facilitate the transport of Pakistani fruits and seafood to China, while the return flights from Nanning to Karachi and Lahore will carry Chinese clothing accessories and other commodities for the Pakistani market. 

In the past few years, Pakistan has significantly expanded its collaborations with Guangxi, as more and more Pakistani businesses have established their presence in the region, participating in various trade shows such as the China-Asean Expo. 

The bond between China and Pakistan continues to flourish, with increasing bilateral exchanges in diverse sectors, including agriculture. In a recent development, the Gansu Academy of Agricultural Sciences (GAAS) and the Sindh Agriculture University of Tandojam (SAU) sealed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to foster China-Pakistan research and establish an innovation hub for flax. 

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Since September 2020, a flax stress-resistance and breeding demonstration project has been underway in Lanzhou, the capital of Gansu province. Following this, an online MoU was signed by Dr. Ma Zhongming, President of GAAS, and Prof. Dr. Fateh Mohammad Maree, Vice Chancellor of SAU. 

As per the terms of the MoU, both parties will facilitate the transfer of advanced agricultural technologies from GAAS to SAU, encompassing a variety of innovations from cold and arid regions including flax cultivation, breeding techniques, and forage sorghum cultivation. In addition, GAAS and SAU will work together to organize research programs, conferences, and training workshops, enabling faculty and graduate student exchanges. 

Zhao Wei, a researcher at the Crop Research Institute of GAAS, in an interview with the China Economic Net, remarked, “If everything goes well, the series should be able to exert a good effect through drought resistance and increase yield under the climatic conditions of Pakistan.” 

As part of the MoU, both institutions have consented to the establishment of a flax study research and innovation hub, focusing on cooperative research and promotion of high-yield, high-quality composite crops, variety selection, optimization of cultivation technology, and plant protection. 

In Pakistan, the average flaxseed yield is currently as low as 692 kg per hectare due to factors like poor soil fertility, indiscriminate use of fertilizers, absence of high-yield hybrid varieties, and outdated cultivation practices. Therefore, the early selection and cultivation of flax varieties, suitable for Pakistan’s climate and soil conditions, are critical given the importance of edible oil and the low yield of oil crops in the country. 

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