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Crop Biotech Update

ISAAA Brief 44 Launch at the Government College University in Lahore

April 10, 2013

Pakistan may face national food insecurity by 2030, hence, there is a need for swift implementation of agri-biotech applications in the country, said speakers during the launch of the report titled ISAAA Brief 44 Global Status of Commercialized Biotech/GM Crops: 2012 on  March 29, 2013. The report details the global overview of biotechnology application including Pakistan.

Vice Chancellor of the Government College University (GCU), Prof. Muhammad Khaleeq-ur-Rahman,  chaired the launch ceremony of the international report organized by the Pakistan Biotechnology Information Center (PABIC) at GCU Institute of Industrial Biotechnology. Pakistan Academy of Sciences General Secretary Anwar Nasim said if biotechnological advancements were not used for meeting the challenges, a major national crisis is expected which might lead to food-related riots in the country.

Dr. Clive James, the author of ISAAA Brief 44, in his recorded message said that, it is a great challenge to provide sufficient food to the growing population of the world. He said that Pakistani population would reach to 250 million by 2050. Therefore, there is a need to design coherent policies and grow the crops which need less water, less fertilizer and give more yields, he added. Dr. Clive James said that 2012 was the 17th year of the commercialization of biotech crops and it was encouraging that this year developing countries planted about 52% of the total global biotech crop.

Pakistan Biotechnology Information Center (PABIC) Director Iqbal Chaudhary also said, "At this time when nations all across the world are multiplying their agriculture productivity, Pakistan has no national strategy and plan of action to use this revolutionary science for solving and preventing problems, and for rapid development. With massive population increase, the nation is leading towards a widespread famine and hunger. Biotech crops can increase productivity and income significantly, and hence, can serve as an engine of rural economic growth that can contribute to the alleviation of poverty for the world's small and resource-poor farmers."