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August 9, 2019

Technology can help enhance agricultural yields

Islamabad

August 9, 2019

Islamabad : National assembly standing committee on National food security and research said that world is adopting latest technologies to meet food security challenges but Pakistan is lacking behind due to hurdles in policy making for some personal interests of few people. Committee believed that biotechnology is need of an hour to meet the required agricultural yield per acre.

Meeting of the national assembly standing committee on National food security and research held in parliament on Thursday. Committee discussed different issues related to agriculture and food security and asked ministry of food security and research to do more efforts for betterment of farmers. While discussing the advantages and disadvantages of genetically modified seeds, secretary ministry of NFSR Hashim Populzai briefed the committee about the remarks from different stakeholders including ministry of commerce, ministry of climate change, local seed producers, Ministry of health and Croplife Pakistan.

On a question regarding the health related concerns about GMO seeds, Ministry of National food security and research pointed out that ministry of health wants detailed risk assessment before giving final approval to commercial use of GMO seeds.

Chairman standing committee Rao Ajmal said that world has spent more than thirty years on the research to bring technology to cater food security. Committee urged that GMO seeds should be launched to increase per acre yield and that is the only way to help farmers and agro economy. World has adopted GM technology two decades ago and even the non GMO countries are also using GM food, he added.

Maize is Pakistan’s 3rd most significant crop and this is also Pakistan’s highest yield cereal crop. According to facts, maize contributes 2.7% to the value addition in agriculture while contribute 0.5% to the GDP. Total cultivation area of maize is 1.348 million hectares. Its annual production is around 6.134 million tons.

Committee members express desire to have latest technology for agriculture so that farmers can utilize the technology to get maximum benefit. It was discussed that world is testing BT4 while we are still fixed in BT1 then how we will fight the food security challenge. Committee also asked secretary NFSR to provide details of any research or technological advancements if any has been done by local seed companies in this regard.

Committee directed ministry of NFSR to come up with further details on GM technology in next meeting so that members can better understand the importance of it. Committee agreed that farmers should not be left alone to fight for their rights but their representatives are here to protect them. Chairman Committee said that subsidies are only short term solution but we need to help farmer community through technology so that they can enhance their production of the crop and contribute to national economy also.

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