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Crop Biotech Update

Islamabad Workshop Tackles Biotech in OIC Countries

March 2, 2012

Food security issues remain to be a major problem in many Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) countries where many still depend on agricultural imports and have a growing population to feed. "This situation demands innovative approaches to increase production of food, fiber, and medicine. There is a growing realization that modern biotechnology can play an important role in meeting these needs," said Dr. Mohammad Iqbal Choudhary, director of the International Center for Chemical and Biological Sciences, Karachi University during the International Workshop on Applications of Modern Biotechnology in Muslim Countries – Specific Issues and Challenges held February 27-29, 2012 at COMSTECH Headquarters, Islamabad, Pakistan.

International delegates from Bangladesh, Egypt, Iran, Malaysia, Oman, Pakistan, and the Philippines shared experiences on sustainable agriculture, biotechnology and biosafety. The event was organized by the OIC Standing Committee on Scientific and Technological Cooperation (COMSTECH), Islamabad in collaboration with Karachi-based Pakistan Biotechnology Information Center (PABIC).

Speaking via video conference, Dr. Marc Van Montagu, Belgian pioneer in plant molecular biotechnology, averred that "genetic modification does not promise miracles, but are essential tools that help contribute to solving many issues related to productivity and food supply."

Currently, only Egypt, Pakistan, and Burkina Faso are the only members of the OIC which are into commercial planting of biotech crops.

For further details of the workshop email Dr. Sammer Yousuf of the Pakistan Biotechnology Information Center at