Biotechnology needed for advancement in Agriculture
Though it might be a clichéd phrase, scientists and farmers believe that innovation through biotechnology is the only savior of agriculture in Pakistan. It is high time that we accept this is as the rapid crop technology for advancement in agriculture. This was said during a seminar in University of Agriculture Faisalabad. The seminar was titled “Challenges and Opportunities in Genetically Modified Organisms for Agriculture”. The major audience consisted of prominent scientists, progressive farmers and media personnel.
The common feeling at the seminar was that biotechnology not only increases productivity but also caters to the environmental aspect as well. The technology is cost effective and also less labor intensive as others so must be adopted at a larger scale.
Experts were of the idea that a major problem in Pakistan has been that Agriculture has not been prioritized in the manner that it should have been. Only concrete steps on behalf of the government would be able to harness maximum possible output from agriculture. It is quite necessary for the unstable economy of Pakistan.
Notable speakers at the seminar included University of Agriculture VC Dr. Iqrar Ahmad Khan, Farmers Associate Pakistan President Dr. Tariq Bucha, notable national biotechnologist Dr. Kauser Abdulla Malik and Monsanto Regulatory Lead for Asia Harvey Glick.
Dr. Iqrar was of the opinion that scientists in the country are working tirelessly for improving the state of agriculture in Pakistan. He further added that they have taken the challenge to feed the 180 million inhabitants of Pakistan. There is a need for revision and importantly the presence of policy framework for the agricultural sector.
Dr. Tariq Bucha also carried forward the argument that the fate of agriculture was dependent on the policy makers in the country. Due to faulty policy framework, agriculture has been at standstill for quite some time. He also stressed that the federal and provincial governments should be aware of their duties in this regard.
Dr. Kauser added an important point when he talked about food security. He clarified that food security is not about agricultural produce, but also its nutritious value. He backed his stance with the Nutrition Survey Report (2011) that said that 58% of the population suffered from food insecurity.
Harvey Glick had joined the seminar through a video link and underscored the notion that biotechnology offers a variety of solutions in this era of “gene revolution”.
He pointed out that some 12 million farmers from 25 countries were harvesting biotech crops on 200 million hectares. He disclosed that his company was in the final stages of introducing stress tolerant varieties, which would be introduced in the US during this year. “I see great potential for biotech crops in Pakistan,”he said.
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