New Research Aims to Reduce Pakistan’s Oilseed Import Bills

A group of Pakistani scientists and researchers at the Islamia University of Bahawalpur’s (IUB) National Research Center of Intercropping (NRCI) are exploring strip intercropping technology to help decrease import costs for food commodities, notably soybeans.

Dr. Muhammad Ali Raza, a postdoctoral researcher at China’s Sichuan Agricultural University (SAU), has already been promoting this technology in Pakistan with his mentor Yang Wenyu.

Athar Mahboob launched the NRCI in August 2021, with the goal of bringing innovations into the local agriculture sector and increasing crop production and soil health. The center has developed sugarcane-based intercropping systems with secondary crops like rapeseed, soybean, clover, and chickpea, as well as designed and optimized Chinese maize-soybean strip intercropping technology for the local soil and weather conditions.

The center is also researching innovative row designs, particularly wider strips, in order to encourage system mechanization. The slogan of NRCI is ‘Think Globally, Act Locally’, and the present Sino-Pak collaboration is a unique component of it.

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