Improving agriculture yield: Bio-technologists highlight need for modern methods

Say country needs clear implementation strategy to adopt agri-biotech.

APP August 22, 2014

LAHORE: There is a need to adopt science-based agriculture methods in the country to increase the output and meet the constantly growing food, fibre and fodder demands.

This was stated at a launch ceremony for an ISAAA report (ISAAA Brief 46) on the global status of genetically modified (GM) crops with renowned bio-technologists highlighting its need in the country.

The event was organised by the Pakistan Biotechnology Information Center (PABIC) in collaboration with PABIC (Lahore Chapter) at Forman Christian College Lahore.

Speaking on the occasion, renowned biotechnologists Dr Kauser Abdullah Malik and Dr Tayyab Husnain said that modern biotechnology, being one of the important developments of the present era, has immense potential for improving agricultural productivity.

“However, for its use at a scientific and sustainable level, Pakistan needs coherent policies and a clear implementation strategy to adopt agri-biotech, focus on crops which require less water, fertilisers and pesticides, while giving more yields to feed the growing population as well as to provide raw material for high value exports,” they explained.

Dr James Tebbe, Rector FC College, addressed the importance of the promotion of science as well as the need for ventures such as ISAAA.

During a video message, ISAAA Founding Chairman and author of ISAAA Brief46 Dr Clive James talked about the highlights of the report.

Director Center of Excellence in Molecular Biology (CEMB), Dr Tayyab Husnain gave a presentation on the potential of agriculture in Pakistan as well as highlighting major developments.

Pakistan Environment Protection Agency (PEPA), Islamabad, Director General Dr Khursheed Sawati spoke of the need for biotech regulation in the country. Dr Kauser Abdulla Malik, in his concluding remarks, said that providing sufficient food to the growing population is a great challenge.

Sawati said that the Pakistani population will be over 250 million by 2050.  He said that there is a need to design coherent policies and grow crops that require minimal water, fertiliser and give more yields to feed the growing population. He added that all these problems can easily be covered by bio-technology.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 22nd, 2014.

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