Not An Outsider EP8 | Pakistani researcher dreams of reviving agriculture by bringing China's advanced tech back home
"I'm from Pakistan, and people here call me 'Batie', a loyal friend of China. You can call me Ali." When DotDotNews' reporter met Anwar Ali for the first time, he introduced himself in Chinese. Ali, 33, came to conduct post-doctoral research on vegetables at the Shandong Academy of Agricultural Sciences in April 2021, with a focus on molecular breeding of cabbage. "I chose to come here because China's agricultural development is incredible, and Shandong Province is the main production area of vegetables in China," he said.
Ali is very interested in greenhouse vegetable production in China, and he visited the vegetable expo in Shouguang, Shandong Province, during his doctoral studies in Beijing. He was impressed by the endless vegetable greenhouses, especially the modern vegetable growing technology, which he described as "perfect" and "modernized".
The agriculture sector is a key area of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, and Ali has his own ideas about the cooperation in the field of agriculture between China and Pakistan. "Compared with Europe and the United States, Chinese seeding technology and agricultural machinery are more cost-effective." He also suggested Pakistan to introduce Chinese drones spraying technology, irrigation technology, crop cultivation technology, weed management technology, etc., which are very practical. It is Ali's hope that he would apply what he has learned to the agricultural development in Pakistan and be a witness for the friendship between China and Pakistan with agrotechnology as a link.
"The Chinese are very caring, very helpful, very friendly people," he said. Ali, who does not speak fluent Chinese, used a series of "very" to describe his Chinese friends to reporters. During his years of study and work in China, Ali said his colleagues at the research institute and even the retailers of the wet market were all very considerate and caring to him. "China is my second home, and I've got a lot of help and respect in China," he said. This is an experience he has never had in any other country.
(With inputs from DotDotNews' reporters in Jinan: Ding Chunli, Hu Wolong)