Biotech Updates

Pakistan Finalizes Strategy to Make Quality Cotton Seed Available

March 12, 2014

The Pakistan government having set cotton production target, has activated seed monitoring system in markets to ensure availability of quality cotton seed to farmer's community. A joint strategy by Federal Seed Certification and Registration Department (FSC&RD), Ministry of National Food Security and Research and Seed Association of Pakistan (SAP) is being developed for availability of quality cotton seed for Kharif 2014-15. The significant features of the strategy for availability of quality cotton seed include clearance of Provincial Seed Councils (PSC) which would be required while National Biosafety Committee (NBC) clearance for commercialization was also being sought. In addition, to put Bt cotton varieties in pedigreed seed production cycle, Breeder Nucleus Seed (BNS) and Pre-Basic crop seed can be offered for crop inspection so that authentication of source may be verified through biotechnology laboratory in all the later categories of seed from basic to certified and approved seed.

Due to financial constraints and non-provision of funds in FSC&RD, the applicant/seed company will provide Bt strips/kits for testing of Bt and non Bt traits. There have been 18 meetings of Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) and 12 meetings of National Biosafety Committee (NBC), Ministry of Climate Change held in Islamabad to discuss the submitted cases for approval of  genetic manipulation work in the laboratory, field trial and exempt status of Bt cotton varieties and other  GM crops.  To date 292 cases related to genetically modified crops research and development activities were received, 155 cases so far have been decided by NBC while TAC had recommended 37 cases for NBC decisions for GMOs and their products related activities. Moreover, 55 cases of different activities are under process for next TAC meeting.

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