Pakistan’s sesame export to China witnessed a 46% increase in H1 this year. A group of Chinese and Pakistani sesame scientists have selected and exchanged seeds for crop breeding, cooperation in sesame planting and harvesting is in the pipeline under the CPEC framework.

“Sesame seeds selected by Ayub Agriculture Research Institute (AARI) in Faisalabad will be tested in Hai Nan, China in November. Last month, researchers and farmers from Pakistan gave a detailed outlook of sesame industry during an online seminar hosted by China Machinery Engineering Corporation (CMEC) and AARI,” Xu Guizhen, Director of Sesame Research Office, Hebei Academy of Agriculture and Forestry Science, told . “Our institute is confident about finding solutions to the breeding of new sesame varieties, research in cultivation technology and lab-to-market transformation for our ‘iron brother’.”

Sesame has a long planting history in Pakistan. The crop is not hard to grow, requires not much water and fertilizer, yet farmers seem to be hesitant about planting sesame. “The biggest difficulty is finding laborers. Harvesting and planting have to be done by hand here,” Chaudhary Abdul Razzaq, a Pakistani sesame farmer, told. “If farmers can’t find skillful laborers, matured sesame seeds will fall off. This year, almost all of my sesame seeds have fallen off.” The Pakistani team was particularly interested in mechanical means to harvest sesame seeds, Xu revealed.