Minister for using biotechnology to reduce food insecurity

Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research, Sikandar Hayat Khan Bosan here on Monday stressed the need to promote biotechnology in order to improve agriculture productivity in the country. Addressing the launching ceremony of ISAAA Report-44 on Global Status of commercialised biotech crops, he said that biotech crops can significantly increase productivity and hence can serve as an engine of rural economic growth that can contribute to alleviate property from the country. 

The minister said that Pakistan was an agricultural country and 70 percent of its population was directly or indirectly dependent on it. Therefore, it was imperative to use modern agricultural technologies in order to increase crops’ yield to meet the need of the growing population, he added. “Biotechnology is a modern tool to improve productivity of agriculture sector and application of its benefits at farmers’ doorstep would play an important role in enhancing productivity that ultimately will help to ensure food security and reducing poverty in the country”, he added. 

Sikandar Bosan said that use of agri-biotech can address the issue of food insecurity and for this it was necessary to promote and enhance understanding of bio-technology amongst the farmers. The minister said that a farmer-oriented national strategy and plan of action was needed in order to make use of this revolutionary science to increase its agricultural output. 

He also pointed out that though Pakistan was among the first few countries to realise the potential of biotechnology in early 1970s but unfortunately the process has slowed down. He said that development of biotechnology at grassroots level in Pakistan is of great importance in order to reap the benefits from this productivity-enhancing technology. 

“In future scenario, our country needs to work out plans for drought control, use nitrogen efficiently, increase nutrition value of food crops by employing modern farming methods and also develop a chain for sustainable and quality supply of food and feed in the country”, he added. Addressing the seminar, Secretary Ministry of National Food Security and Research, Seerat Asghar Jaura said that no economic policy could succeed unless agricultural sector is placed at its centre. The event was also attended by members of National Bio Safety Committee, National Institute of Biotechnology and Genetic Engineering and Centre of Excellence in Molecular Biology. 

Copyright Associated Press of Pakistan, 2013

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