Pakistan is nearly broke with the drying up of foreign cash reserves and mounting external debt. Earlier in February, China had come forward with a loan offer of 42.5 billion and now, in return, Pakistan will be exporting donkeys to its "all-weather ally".
Pakistan, which has the third largest donkey population in the world, will export the animal to China, opening the avenue to earn millions from the trade, according to a media report.
Donkeys are highly prized in China, especially for their hide which is used to manufacture traditional Chinese medicines. Gelatin made from donkey skin has been long considered to have medicinal properties in China, traditionally being thought to nourish the blood and enhance the immune system.
Pakistan has the world's third largest population of donkeys with more than 5 million animals, while China stands at number one.
A senior official at the livestock department in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province said Chinese companies are interested in donkey farming in Pakistan and foreign companies are ready to invest USD 3 billion, the Geo News reported.
In a bid to boost the country's exports, the live stock department has announced that it will develop donkey farms the first of its kind in the country.
According to reports, at least two donkey farms are being set up in Dera Ismail Khan and Mansehra with foreign partnership.
During the first three years, the government plans to export as many as 80,000 donkeys to China, according to the report.