Multan, 22 February 2022 (TDI): Pakistan and China have increased cooperation partnership on cotton research under climate change plan.

Dr. Zhang Rui, Biotechnology Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences shared this message in the International Training Workshop.

This training was on Climate Smart Water Fertilizer Intelligent System for Cotton and Wheat. This was organized by the MNS University of Agriculture, Multan.

The ‘National Natural Science Foundation of China’ (NSDC) and ‘Pakistan Science Foundation’ (PSF) are working together to launch a model.

This model will be launched through the study of the changes in climate characteristics in cotton and wheat production varieties. It will also put forward breeding proposals for climate change in the next 30-50 years.

The model is developed under the ‘Agricultural Production Systems Simulator’ (APSIM) intelligent regulation and decision-making system. This can put on the biophysical process in the farming system under climatic risk.

This also describes crop structure, crop sequence, yield prediction, and quality control. In addition, it describes erosion valuation under different planting patterns. It also predicts the future design direction of wheat and cotton varieties and water, fertilizer, and salt management measures.

Dr. Rui said that the use of genetic engineering methods, compared with traditional breeding, can produce crop varieties. These crops adjust to different types of environmental conditions more quickly.

Among the 60 major cotton-producing countries, Pakistan stands 5th in cotton production and inhabits the 3rd position in consumption. The cotton industry in Pakistan has a 60% share in foreign exchange incomes.

It engages 38% of the labor force directly or indirectly promoting employment in the country. Dr. Saghir Ahmad, Chief Scientist on Cotton at CRI, shared the gap of 5-6 million bales between production and consumption.

He said that major challenges include climate change, obsolete Bt. Technology, seed quality, pests and diseases, quality issues, shortage of water, soil health, production technology awareness, and limited profitability.


He said China and Pakistan are facing the mutual challenge of climate change which is posing threats to cotton cultivation. Data of CRI Multan reveals that the highest and lowest temperatures in Punjab display an upward trend during the past two decades. This has marked 1.5°surge from 2020 to 2021.

Dr. Saghir warned that without strategies and measures, most areas in Punjab can be attacked by pink bollworm by 2040. In China, climate change has resulted in the rise of the average annual temperature by 0.24℃.

This happened every ten years in the past seven decades. The past 20 years were the warmest period since the beginning of the 20th century. As a result, extreme weathers like high rainfall and drought have been on the rise.

Dr. Rui shared that more than 630 cotton germplasm were collected. During the growth period of cotton, their growth potential and sensitivity to ketamine were analyzed to identify climate smart varieties.

She said using genetic engineering technology, cotton varieties with significantly improved environmental adaptability have been cultivated. Pakistan and China need closer cooperation on cotton research.

Dr. Saghir Ahmad briefed that the construction of the Pak-China joint cotton breeding lab under CPEC at CRI Multan has been proposed. He also anticipates the transfer of Chinese GMO technology to Pakistan. This includes the exchange of germplasm, training of scientists, mechanization cooperation, and joint conference.