In phase II of CPEC, agriculture is of paramount importance
BEIJING – The Chinese enterprises can expand their investment in date-palm tree planting and processing in Pakistan and cooperate with local enterprises, so as to jointly tap the international market.
China can help Pakistan develop modern logistics industry and establish modern cold storage systems and deep-processing production lines.
These views were expressed by Cheng Xizhong, visiting professor at Southwest University of Political Science and Law and former Defense Attache in South Asian countries, in an article published by China Economic Net (CEN) here on Wednesday. Pakistan’s palm dates are renowned for their rich nutrition and high sugar content. They can not only be savored as sweets, but also be used for sugar production and wine making. As one of the major date producers, Pakistan is known for treating their guests with date sweets. However, in recent years, although Pakistan has had a bumper harvest of dates year after year, people who are engaged in date business cannot earn as much. The profits of dates continue to decrease with the decline of prices. This is caused not by the pandemic, but mainly by the imported dates from the Middle East. The dates produced in Iraq, Iran, Saudi Arabia and other Middle East countries almost dominate the global market, mainly because these countries have advanced cold storage systems and modern logistics industry, while in Pakistan, the underdevelopment of the two factors has been restraining the value addition of the domestic dates.
He said that the traditional sales season of dates is Ramazan. But provided a sound cold storage system, they can be sold all year round. If there are advanced deep-processing technology and equipment, the dates can be dried or made into other date products to meet people’s demand throughout the year, which will in turn mobilize the enthusiasm of farmers to plant date-palm trees on a large scale, thus forming a benign cycle.
In terms of deep processing, some European countries import dates from the Middle East, then remove the cores and process the meat into value-added products, which are handsomely packaged and sold all over the world at prices several times higher than dates.
In China, jujube is bringing much income to the people of Xinjiang, who have mastered the techniques to produce concentrated jujube juice, jujube vinegar and jujube jelly, as well as jujube oral liquid with health care functions. All of them are well received by the market.
Last year, the global date market reached US $12.4 billion and is expected to rise to US $17.6 billion in 2026. The expansion of the market is visible. If Pakistan cannot seize this wave of dividends, the local date market will be even further undermined. Chinese people who pay much attention to health care also like processed palm date products. In China, people are developing the habit of less sugar. But meanwhile, the demand for sweet taste is driving them to spot alternatives. Dates, in this regard, can be made into sweeteners, which are healthier than ordinary sucrose. By providing coreless dates, chocolate dates and other products, Pakistani dates can win the hearts of Chinese consumers.
As China and Pakistan are now closely carrying out agricultural technical cooperation, he put forward some comments for the progress of Pakistani date industry. In Phase II of the construction of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), agriculture is of paramount importance. Breeding know-how, machinery and other agricultural technologies continue to be introduced to Pakistan. As a result, hopefully, Pakistan’s date industry will usher in new chapter with enhanced competence in China’s vast market.
Leave a Reply