Wednesday August 17, 2022

Biotechnology to augment food output by 6pc: minister

By our correspondents
August 12, 2016

ISLAMABAD: Biotechnology will bring food production in the country up five to six percent, a minister said on Thursday, urging the need for the motivation of farmers to adopt new and modern crop technology.  

“The real benefits will be attained through generating strong awareness about the practical application of biotechnology products among general public and farmers at large,” Sikandar Hayat Khan Bosan, minister for national food security and research told the participants of a workshop.

Pakistan Agriculture Research Council and Pakistan Biotechnology information Centre hosted the two-day workshop on capacity building of biosafety technology.

“The 20-year of commercialisation shows that the crop biotechnology has enormous prospects, as the technology has far-reaching economic, environmental, social and health benefits. 

The rapid adoption of such crops in industrial and developing countries and resultant benefits clearly show the importance of this technology.”

Minister Bosan said there will be an enormous increase in the population of Pakistan and hence water and land scarcity. “In face of such challenges, Pakistan took a bold step towards resorting to biotechnology.”

He expressed his pleasure at the progress made in the field of biotech crops in the form of genes’ manipulations through exotic means and thereby using them into crops to gain positive results, which include insect resistance, protection from disease, and drought soil salinity among many others.

Bosan said 85 percent of cotton cultivation is biotech, “and other crops are also in the pipeline.” 

“Present government endorses the positive use of biotechnology for public welfare and Pakistan has shown its commitment towards safe handling of GM (genetically modified) crops,” he said. “We have the Biosafety Rules 2005 for safer use of this biotechnology.”

He said the lack of public awareness might be the biggest hurdle in the implementation of biosafety rules. “There must be the effective capacity building of quarantine and custom departments to be familiar with these principles,” he said. 

He said the working group of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation on biotechnology should be activated.