At a farm in Weifang city, Shandong province, China, rows of verdant peanut seedlings are bathing in the sparkling sunshine with pride, waiting to contribute their fruit clusters in the coming autumn.
“Look! Our seeds are rich in nutrient elements,” Dr Babar Ijaz, Person In Charge of Overseas Projects, Shandong Rainbow Agricultural Technology Co Ltd, remarked as he showed a plump peanut seed during an interview with China Economic Net.
Lately, Rainbow’s high-oleic-acid peanut cultivation base project was formally included in the China-Pakistan agricultural cooperation framework by the Ministry of Agriculture, China.
“As you can see, our seed registration with Pakistan Agricultural Research Council (PARC) has started. A total of five high-oleic peanut varieties for oil extraction of Runhua series have been trial-planted in Pakistan, which is expected to achieve fruitful results,” revealed Fan Changcheng, Deputy General Manager of Rainbow.
“Next, our aim is to increase the area gradually to 1,500 hectares in the coming years,” he said.
“My country has a long tradition of peanut planting. Peanuts like warm environment with sufficient sunlight, with loose and breathable sandy loam as the most suitable soil condition. The Potohar region of Punjab is the best area for peanut production,” Ijaz stated, adding that peanut seeds contain 40-50% oil and the high-oleic peanut oil is rich in unsaturated fatty acids.
“During our trial, we always focused on how the local environment can act on the quality of seeds on the whole. The varieties we selected have the highest oleic acid content, up to 75-80%, which means very high nutritional value.”
“Self-sufficient in peanut production means that we can reduce our import bill of edible oil,” said Muhammad Jahanzaib, Scientific Officer of the Oil Seed Research Programme in NARC Pakistan.
Statistics of the US Department of Agriculture showed that Pakistan’s peanut planting area in 2022-23 is about 150,000 hectares, with total output of 140,000 metric tons.
THE ARTICLE ORIGINALLY APPEARED ON THE CHINA ECONOMIC NET
Published in The Express Tribune, March 5th, 2023.