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Business

January 17, 2017

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Minister appreciates biotech developments

Minister appreciates biotech developments

LAHORE: Punjab agriculture minister Naeem Akhtar Khan Bhabha Monday acknowledged the positive role of technology and innovation in the field of agriculture during his visit to the biotech corn field trial being undertaken by Monsanto Pakistan.

The minister was briefed about the technology features, crop characteristics, trial and testing parameters, and agronomic practices. The briefing was followed by a tour of the crop field for practical demonstration.

Bhabha emphasised the importance of a vibrant seed industry for the development and growth of agriculture in the country.

Monsanto Pakistan’s latest bio-tech corn seed incorporates technology that provides protection against pest attack and enables over the top application of herbicides for significantly improved pest and weed control. This cutting-edge technology will reduce cost of agriculture inputs and labour, whilst protecting crop yield for the farmer.

From 1996 till 2016, over two billion hectares of biotech crops have been planted by 18 million farmers across 28 countries. During this period (1996-2014) biotechnology was responsible for additional production of 158.4 million tons of soybean and 321.8 million tons of corn, contributing over $150 billion in global farm incomes. The technology has also contributed production of an extra 24.7 million tons of cotton lint and 9.2 million tons of canola. Monsanto Pakistan country lead Aamir Mirza informed the minister that Monsanto’s new bio-tech corn received commercialisation approval from the Federal Ministry of Climate Change in February 2016, following compliance with the bio-safety rules and regulation and rigorous field trials, first initiated in 2009.

He assured the minister that Monsanto Pakistan was committed to providing the highest quality corn seed to the farmer and would continue to work closely with the farming community to ensure understanding of optimum agronomic practices, highlighting Monsanto’s efforts towards building capacity of the farmers through Farmer Field Day, Learning Centre, and Agriculture Academy programmes.

Local progressive farmers present at the event were also provided detailed briefings and practical demonstrations of the new seed technology. Mirza explained that globally, crop biotechnology has reduced pesticide spraying (1996-2014) by 581 million kilogram, significantly reducing cost to the farmer and mitigating impact to the environment.

 

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