Eleven countries affiliated with the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), including China and Pakistan, have come together with international universities, corporations, and organisations to inaugurate a global network focused on the potato industry. The initiative, unveiled recently at a forum at Southwest University in China, aims to catalyze the potato sector.
According to an UrduPoint news story, the initiative was spearheaded by Southwest University. It envisions the Belt and Road potato network as a means to amplify the quality and efficiency of the potato industry in BRI nations. This will be achieved through a multi-faceted collaboration comprising academic exchange, joint research, and technology transfer, as shared by Prof. Lyu Dianqiu, Dean of the Agronomy and Biotechnology College at Southwest University in an interview with China Economic Net (CEN).
Fostering potato breeding developments
Prof. Lyu specified that an innovative institute will function as a catalyst, promoting research and fostering developments in potato breeding, germplasm creation and utilisation, as well as establishing potato cultivation demonstration bases.
Upon conducting a comprehensive study to assess the issues and potential in the potato industry within the BRI nations, Prof. Lyu noted that the need for enhanced cooperation in potato breeding became clear. He cited the example of countries like Pakistan and Kazakhstan, which suffer from a shortage of high-quality potato seeds.
As an initial gesture of support, each nation was gifted 100 sets of germplasm rapid diagnostic kits during the forum, Prof. Lyu added.
In line with this, the dean stated that training sessions will be organised to impart potato breeding expertise to member countries. Additionally, a strategic cooperation agreement was signed by the participants at the forum, and a proposal for the joint construction and use of the “Belt and Road” International Potato Germplasm Resource Bank was released.
In Prof. Lyu’s words, “It’s encouraging to see that participating universities and corporations have already begun to form strong bonds during the forum, signalling an auspicious beginning to deeper technological cooperation.”
Partners in the BRI potato network include the CIP-China Center for Asia and the Pacific (CCCAP), Leling Xisen Potato Industry Group Co. Ltd, and numerous other enterprises, universities, research institutions, such as the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, S Seifullin Kazakh Agrotechnical University, and the University of Lahore in Pakistan.
Source: UrduPoint. Original news story here
Photo: Prof. Lyu Dianqiu. Credit UrduPoint