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Mar 23, 2012

Pakistan Approves 1st GM Corn Field Test

On 10 March 2012 Pakistan's National Biosafety Committee (NBC) issued a press release announcing that its Technical Advisory Committee had approved a field trial for a BT variety of Monsanto's gene-modified (GM) corn. This follows Pakistan's approval to plant BT cotton in 2010.

Pakistan's NBC has approved field tests only for BT corn. While acknowledging that "BT corn can be successful on large land holdings," it also expressed concern that adoption of BT might have a negative impact on the livelihoods of small farmers. Noting that "those farmers who do not endorse GM crops may not survive, and their crops may be contaminated with GM pollen."

The NBC press release also stated that small farmers whose seed has been contaminated by cross-pollination needed a legal mechanism to be able to sue for legal compensation. Before the commercialization of BT corn, discussions needed to be finalized with Monsanto and Pioneer Hi-Bred regarding how to "provide guarantees" to small farmers regarding the cross-contamination from any BT crop including cotton and corn.

Officials at Pakistan's National Agricultural Research Council (NARC) noted that they had no independent research facilities for local testing to validate domestic performance. They are collaborating with Monsanto and Pioneer Hi-Bred to investigate potential health hazards for humans and animals.

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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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