Published On: Mon, Jan 20th, 2014
Published in Category: Islamabad

Agri-biotech has potential to enhance food production by 5-6%: Bosan

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ISLAMABAD: Sikandar Hayat Khan Bosan, Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research (MNF&R) has said that agricultural biotechnology has the potential to enhance the food production by 5-6%.

Sikandar Hayat Khan Bosan said this while addressing at concluding session of workshop on National Dialogue on Biotechnology and Bio-Safety for Food and Feed Security in Pakistan and Capacity Building Workshop for Representatives of Institutional Bio-Safety Committees (IBCs) and Media Practitioners here in Islamabad.

The government has taken bold steps towards adoption of modern biotechnology and stared to established biotechnology centers across the country including in Karachi, Faisalabad, Lahore, Peshawar, Quetta and Islamabad.

Institutions acknowledge the role of biotechnology as a potential tool for the growth and socio-economic development.

The draft of Seeds Act has been vetted by Law Division and forwarded to the Prime Minister of Pakistan for the approval.

The act would provide for regulating the quality of seeds for sale, import and export and to facilitate production and supply of quality seeds and for matters connected therewith.

Bosan said, in addition to this policy, the MNF&R was taking necessary steps for formulation of National Biotechnology Policy and also working on preparation of various guidelines and regularity measures to enhance agriculture productivity and protection in the country.

The event was jointly organized by Pakistan Agricultural Research Council (PARC), Pakistan Biotechnology Information Centre (PABIC), Forman Christian College (A Chartered University) Lahore, Crop Life Pakistan, Pakistan Academy of Sciences and United Sates Departments of Agriculture, Foreign Agricultural Services US Embassy, Islamabad.

The minister said the increased food and fiber production, a cleaner environment and renewable energy resources were the major challenges in the 21st century adding that Pakistan being developing country was also facing multi-faceted challenges including food security, rapid urbanization and climate change.

He, however, was of the view that despite diverse and widespread beneficial application of biotechnology products, there remains a critical need to present these benefits to the general public in a real and understandable way.

Unlike many other countries, Pakistan is very much fortune in terms of public acceptance of genetically modified crops, he said adding water saving and high yielding per unit land crops will ensure the food security of country.

Speaking on the occasion, Secretary, Ministry of National Food Security and Research, Seerat Asghar, highlighted various agricultural policies, guidelines and the issue of bio-safety laws and the role of various Ministries for its formulation.

On the occasion, Chairman Pakistan Agricultural Research Council (PARC), Dr. Iftikhar Ahmad highlighted dimensions of food security, status of Pakistan agriculture, challenges of agricultural development and biotechnology in Pakistan.

He said biotechnology was a tool available to improve food security problem and reducing poverty.

The application of biotechnology by Pakistani farmers would not only result in enhancing productivity but would also help in addressing food security challenges faced by the country.

Speaking on the occasion, an eminent scientist and Director, Research, Innovation and Commercialization (ORIC) F. C. College (A Chartered University) Lahore, Prof. Dr. Kausar Abdullah Malik expressed his view that without regulatory measures we cannot move forward.

On this occasion Clay Hamilton, Agriculture Counsellor, US Embassy, Islamabad, Dr. Anwar Nasim, Patron, Pakistan Biotechnology Information Centre (PABIC), Prof. Dr. M. Iqbal Chaudhary, Director (PABIC), Dr. Yousaf Zafar, Minister (Technical) and Dr. Samer Yousaf, Coordinator (PABIC), Malik Zahoor Ahmad, DG (NAPHIS) MNFS&R and other eminent scientists also addressed the participants and shared their knowledge and experience.