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Benefits of GM maize technology showcased

By Our Correspondent
June 22, 2019

Islamabad: Value Assessment trial of Genetically Modified (GM) maize seed technology was showcased by Crop Life Pakistan Association.

The main objective of the event was to exhibit the numerous benefits of biotechnology and provide relevant stakeholders with an opportunity to observe first-hand the performance of the GM maize hybrids in the field. Farmers attending the showcasing event emphasised the importance of cultivating GM maize in Pakistan, explaining that in this day and age, it is important to move from subsistence farming practices to more technologically advanced commercial farming. Speaking to the journalists on the occasion, member of Crop Life Pakistan’s Biotech and Seed Committee, reiterated the unblemished safety record of biotech crops and the yield advantages that can be attained through this technology whilst providing data and case studies. “Contrary to misconceptions, there is a complete consensus amongst the scientific community, locally and internationally, on the efficacy and safety of biotechnology.

In fact, no food safety or health issue has been associated with biotech crops since its introduction in 1996. This is further evidenced in the widespread acceptance and consumption, as food and feed, of biotech crops across the world, including US, EU, Australia, Canada, Korea and Japan” he said. Pakistan Agriculture Research Council (PARC) in National Uniform Yield Trials (NUYT) has observed yield advantage between 10% and 45% for biotech maize hybrids against conventional hybrids. Globally, the countries that have adopted biotechnology have witnessed an appreciable increase in average yields. The US, for example, improved its average yield by 56% while the average maize crop yields of Brazil and Philippines have also increased by 102% and 72%, respectively.

Muhammad Asim, chair, Crop Life Pakistan Biotech and Seed Committee briefed the media on the importance of adopting biotechnology for Pakistan. “Over the past 20 years more than 95% maize area has seen hybrid seed adoption, resulting in a phenomenal four-fold yield increase,” Asim explained. Muhammad Munir, a local farmer, was particularly excited to see visible benefits of GM maize in the field. “Biotechnology is the ideal tool for farmers to improve their profitability through reduced input cost and improved yields,” he said after receiving a detailed demonstration on the occasion. Crop Life Pakistan Association represents the plant science industry; and promotes international developments in crop protection, seed and agricultural biotechnology, with the aim to provide transparent information to its stakeholders and welcomes open dialogue with parties interested in the future of food and farming. In Pakistan, we represent leading local and multinational companies.