LAHORE: The recently approved genetically modified (GM) corn seeds will soon be available to farmers for planting and will generate an additional income of over Rs100 billion annually, said the industry representatives.
“The government’s recent approval for the Insect Protected and Herbicide Tolerant corn is a landmark decision,” said Croplife Pakistan Executive Director Dr Muhammad Afzal, adding that the GM corp would not only help boost productivity of corn but also enhance confidence of technology providing companies, both local and foreign to make further investment in Pakistan’s under-performing agriculture sector.
According to Afzal, the GM corn approval decision was taken after a rigorous process spread over seven years. “It involved extensive regulatory assessments which reaffirmed the safety of a technology. The approval process involved monitoring of field trials and evaluation of risk assessment submissions by designated committees of the government as required by the country’s biosafety laws,” he said.
“Almost all of the corn, soybeans, canola and cotton GM varieties planted worldwide are demonstrating value the farmers had been expecting to see in the technology, even during tough seasons,” said the Croplife Pakistan official.
“We should continue to use all the tools at our disposal, including biotechnology, to improve farmers’ lives and ensure that we meet the community’s expectations of producing quality food and fibre in a safe and sustainable way,” he stressed.
He said farmers globally had embraced the GM crops faster as compared to nearly any other technology because it allowed them to produce more while using fewer resources.
A new report reveals that 2 billion hectares of GM crops have been grown globally since its introduction in 1996 which has increased farmer income worldwide by an extraordinary $150 billion over time,” said Afzal.
He also urged the government to play a proactive role in educating farmers about biotech crops so that the country could quickly benefit from the technology in both developed and developing countries.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 24th, 2016.