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LAHORE: Chinese leading food firm “Litong Foods” is all set to enter into a joint venture with a Pakistani firm Guard Agricultural Research and Services (Pvt.) Limited to import 5000 tons of dried chillies.

The agreement likely to be signed during the next week is a follow up of the recent memorandum of understanding on protocol of phyto-sanitary singed in Islamabad during 3-day visit of Chinese Vice-Premier He Lifeng.

The $30 million (around Rs9 billion) joint venture is likely to be signed under the business-to-business mode.

“China is a big consumer of chillies as these are used in sauces, soups and some other products. They consume about 150,000 tons of dried chillies per annum and out of it 60,000 tons are imported from India. However, due to recent geo-strategic repositioning in the region Chinese are now looking at Pakistan to import this quantity,” said Guard’s Chief Executive Officer Shahzad Ali Malik while talking to Business Recorder here on Sunday. He claimed that initially Chinese offered us to export them 15,000 tons but we have decided to move cautiously and committed to export between 3000 to 5000 tons only. However Chinese will import 15000 by some other arrangements through another Chinese company already present in our country, he added.

Shahzad Ali Malik said that both Litong foods and Guard had already successfully experienced sowing of hybrid chillies in Pakistan near Multan under a MoU and now moving towards materializing the dream of ousting India and capturing the Chinese market of dried chillies.

Litong Food, a major seed breeder will provide hybrid seeds and technical guidance and take back the production under the Pakistan-China Economic Corridor (CPEC) project, he added.

Malik said they have recently visited the facilities of Litong in China. This project hopefully brings about an upward change in the living standards of farmers, remove poverty from rural areas and create job opportunities for our Agri graduates. “We have already started hiring agricultural graduates while training of our farmers, technical staff of our company and other stakeholders had already been completed”.

It may be worth mentioning that the Guard Agricultural Research and Services already had the honor to introduce Chinese long grain hybrid rice in Pakistan which had increased rice production manifold especially in Sindh. He said Pakistan-China collaboration in the agricultural sector, particularly in the development of new varieties of hybrid seeds in the private sector has significant benefits for both countries.

Shahzad Ali Malik Sitara-I-Imtiaz said Hybrid Chilli gives three picking per sowing and a production of 75 maund per acre in contrast to traditional varieties which give only 30-35 maund per acre, he added. Chairman Litong Food coming from China to ink initially five years contract he concluded.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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