15 Feb 2013, BioSpectrum Bureau , BioSpectrum
Singapore: Pakistan has formed a committee to promote the culture of GM crops and agricultural biotechnology in the country. The committee will be responsible for creating awareness among the farmers and other stakeholders and would also work to remove the legal hindrances in this regard. The decision to form the committee was made as rich and influential individuals in the country are swiftly shifting their business to the food and agriculture sector in order to establish their monopoly on sector.
In a recently held press conference, senior members from CropLife Pakistan, which is the Pakistan branch of a global federation that represents the plant science industry, highlighted that, "CropLife Pakistan has formed a biotech committee to create more awareness about agricultural biotechnology in Pakistan. This committee for year 2013 would be chaired by Monsanto, while DuPont Pioneer and Syngenta will be its members. The working of the committee will be governed by policies and procedures of CropLife International and CropLife Pakistan, which is operating in the country since 1968."
The press conference, which was held by CropLife Pakistan senior members, including Mr Farooq Shahid, Mr Sajjad Chattha, Mr Muhammad Shoaib and Mr Nadeem Austin, also revealed that achieving sustainability in food grain production and food security continues to be a challenge in the developing world including Pakistan and that the biotechnology was a tool available to improve food security and reduce poverty.
The member further added, "The application of biotechnology by Pakistani farmers would not only result in enhancing productivity but would also help in addressing food security challenges faced by the country. At a time when nations all across the world are multiplying their agriculture productivity, preventing disease prevalence and solving the problem of environmental pollution, Pakistan needs a national strategy and plan of action to use this revolutionary science for solving/preventing problems and for rapid development."
The CropLife members felt that 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 small and resource-poor farmers. The committee would therefore engage the biotech regulatory agencies for implementation of Biosafety Guidelines and Rules 2005 so that science-based and transparent regulatory processes are implemented.