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Jun 23, 2010

Pakistani Agricultural Experts: The Potential of GM Crops

On 23 June 2010 the Daily Observer of Pakistan published an article on the potential of gene-engineered crops in that country.  It featured several GE favorable positions by Pakistani agricultural experts at the Pakistan Cotton Ginners Association (PCGA), the Sindh Agricultural Forum, the Punjab University's Department of Molecular Genetics and the National Biotechnology Commission.

Of concern to these experts was the regulatory approval of BT cotton and BT maize.  Both crops are currently in regulatory field trials as part of a government approval process.

According to Shakeel Ahmad, senior member of Sindh Agriculture Forum, “cotton has remained a vital crop ... Employment in cotton related textile sector stands around 75 million people besides textile exports stand at number one amongst the five exporting sectors."

Dr Kausar Abdullah Malik, professor at the Punjab University's Department of Molecular Genetics and Secretary of the National Biotechnology Commission noted that other developing countries such as India and the Philippines (who compete with Pakistan in the global market with their agricultural exports) "have made significant economic progress by adopting the latest agri-technologies."  He added that "the positive impact of biotech crops around the world is evident in reducing pesticide usage, which is subsequently positive for the environment."  And, "[w]ater availability for agriculture is going down and while this will require major decisions, biotechnology can help in growing crops that utilise lesser water and fertilizers. "

Dr Kamran Mujahid, professor at the Punjab University stated that "with a growing population, it is imperative that Pakistan should focus on attaining sustainable higher yields and better water management to avert food shortages in the coming two decades."

For more see: Syed, Razi. "Adoption of biotechnology vital for major crops," Daily Times (Pakistan), 23 June 2010.

About Margaret

CEO and Curator (The Food Museum) | Managing Director and Chief Editor (GR2 Global LLC) | Educator (UCLA PhD) | Researching and writing on global food issues, nutrition and health, sustainability, history (preservation), conservation (natural resources), and design.
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