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Muhammad Shafique, a Pakistani farmer, is thrilled to see his high-quality cauliflower harvest, which was sown with Chinese seeds.
"They usually take 40 to 60 days to mature and I can earn 150,000 to 200,000 rupees per hectare in one season from planting Chinese cauliflower seeds," Shafique said.
"These cauliflowers heads are as large and round as those grown from European or Japanese seed varieties. Sometimes the Chinese variety is even better but the cost is much lower," he added, noting that he plans to cultivate more cauliflowers next season using the Chinese seeds.
Cauliflower is part of daily consumption in Pakistan. By planting Chinese cauliflower seeds, which were developed in north China's Tianjin Municipality, the local farmers in Pakistan can earn a 50 percent higher profit compared to planting cauliflower seeds imported from other countries.
It was at an international seed fair in 2014 where Sun Deling, a leading cauliflower breeding expert with the Tianjin Academy of Agricultural Sciences, saw that Pakistani seed importers were really interested in the performance of Chinese seeds.
Sun decided to seize the opportunity and took some Chinese cauliflower seeds to Pakistan for breeding tests, but local climatic conditions posed difficulties in germination.
"Summers in Pakistan can be really hot. Moreover, the geography and climate of two locations separated by dozens of kilometers can vary significantly," he said.
Sun decided to modify the seeds to suit the microclimates based on trial outcomes. Thanks to his efforts, seed varieties with better adaptability were produced.
In order to improve the integration level of breeding, seed production and promotion, Sun forged a collaboration with Tianjin Tianlong Zaitian Agricultural Science and Technology Co., Ltd., which has been engaged in crop promotion in South Asia for many years.
The company has developed unique seed coating technology to improve the germination rate of seeds to 90 percent, which is above the international standard of 85 percent, said Bao Wanjun, chairman of the Board of the company.
As one of the major seed importers in Pakistan, CKD Seeds and Fertilizer Co. used to import vegetable seeds from Japan, the United States and European countries.
"We got to know about Tianjin Tianlong's seeds in 2016, and after two to three seasons of testing, we discovered that the seeds performed exceptionally well. Thereafter, we started to import in large quantities," said Chudhary Sohail Akhtar, CEO of CKD.