Biotechnology: WTO protocol poses hurdles in transfer

Adoption of modern technology is pivotal to avert food insecurity.

Express December 01, 2011

LAHORE: New laws and protocols developed in the wake of the formation of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) has been posing hurdles in the transfer of biotechnology, according to Director General, Agriculture and Biotechnology Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission Dr Yusuf Zafar.

At a seminar organised by Pakistan Biotechnology Information Centre (PABIC) in collaboration with Agriculture Journalists Association in Lahore, he said that the well-regulated international environment in the field of biotechnology was both bane and boon for developing countries like Pakistan.

He said that biotechnology would attain even more importance for Pakistan for producing more food and fibre crops as its population is going to cross 335 million by the year 2050. “To fulfill the nutrition needs of the country in future we have to overcome deficiencies and adopt modern technology in agriculture,” he said.

He said that the private sector has a role in biotechnology and is doing quite well, but the government also has to play its role.

Right now around 32 biotech centres are working in Pakistan, he said, adding the number should be enhanced which cannot be done without strong political will. India is spending 2.7% of total GDP of Rs1.43 trillion in agriculture, whereas Pakistan is only spending 0.7% of its total GDP of Rs439.7 billion, he said. “In such circumstances one cannot expect miracles; still our experts are doing what they can,” he added.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 2nd, 2011. 

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