Wednesday December 06, 2023

Govt mulls body to promote agricultural biotechnology

By our correspondents
September 26, 2017

LAHORE: Government is setting up a body to promote development of agricultural technologies that can improve productivity of crops as well as their accessibility in the market, food minister said on Monday.  

“The establishment of Federal Food Safety Authority will further facilitate development of all technologies related to food security,” Sikander Bosan, minister for national food security and research said, addressing a workshop on advances in agricultural biotechnology and regulatory affairs.

Bosan said government drafted a law to set up the authority and “it will be brought up to the National Assembly for enactment very soon.”  “A move from centuries old traditional methods to technology driven agricultural practices pose a huge challenge that needs extraordinary effort by extra ordinary men and women who speak louder through actions than words,” he added. “It is in this context that developments in agricultural biotechnology should be seen.”

Food minister said agriculture yields in addition to price structure should be improved.  “Food security cannot be achieved by only increasing agricultural productivity but it is affordability and accessibility that has to be ensured,” he added. “In addition the nutrition component, which has been highlighted, must be taken care of if food security in its true sense has to be achieved.”

The minister said the zero hunger program and other projects, such as Kissan package, are efforts to ensure exports and availability of farm inputs at affordable prices to uplift the plight of small farmers who constitute nearly 80 percent of the farms and to ensure that their nutrition and educational requirements are met. In 2015, government announced a relief package for poor farmers, having 12.5 acres of land, to subsidise buying of quality seeds and manure to boost production and to provide interest-free loans. 

Bosan further said holding of such a workshop is an important step in forging collaborations and for learning from each other.  “Sustainable agricultural productivity cannot be achieved without the input of modern science and technology including biotechnology,” he added.

“However, modern agriculture means a lot more than what meets the eye. It is based on latest knowledge grounded in research that introduces technologies with acceptability by the farmers.” Food minster said this kind of transformation may be easy to discuss in a class room or a seminar but difficult to translate into action.