Pakistan achieved substantial economic gain: AEC DG

(Thursday, March 01, 2012) ISLAMABAD: Despite late start, the country has achieved a substantial economic gain through biotechnology application (cotton).

(Thursday, March 01, 2012) ISLAMABAD: Despite late start, the country has achieved a substantial economic gain through biotechnology application (cotton).

Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) Director General Dr Yousuf Zafar stated this while speaking at the three-day international workshop entitled, ‘Applications of Modern Biotechnology in Muslim Countries- Specific Issues and Challenges’ here on Wednesday. Using Pakistan as a model country, he urged the other Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC) nations to move forward in bringing forth the biotechnology for solving the problem of food insecurity.

Thirty-five top biotechnologists from seven countries are participating in this high-level meeting. This includes representatives of ISAAA (v), Iranian Biotechnology Information Centre (IrBIC), Bangladesh Biotechnology Information Centre (BdBIC), AEC and Pakistan Biotechnology Information Centre (PABIC).

PABIC Director Prof Dr M Iqbal Choudhary presented an overview of the status of applications of biotechnology in OIC region. He urged the participants to identify the bottlenecks, which are hindering the much-needed applications of biotechnology, despite genuine needs. He reminded the participants that most of the OIC nations are the net importer of food commodities. Food inflation is among the highest in Pakistan and Muslim countries. He also presented the statistics that only three Muslim countries, out of 57 nations have achieved commercialisation of biotech crops.

ISAAA’s Dr Mariechel J Navarro and Dr Rhodora Aldemita presented global overview of the biotechnology applications in developed and developing countries. They said that in 32 biotech cropping countries, the area under biotech cultivation is steadily increasing; bring tremendous benefit to the national economies. She also presented the ISAAA’s enabling role in the promotion of biotechnology in the world and bringing the reliable statistics to the world.

IrBIC’s Prof Behzad Gerzyari reviewed various world agreements and conventions, which urge nations to promote biotechnology applications for the well being of the general masses, while following the best practices in bio-safety. He presented the case studies of Iran and Turkey where despite the strong research base; various factors have hindered the commercialization of biotechnology.
MABIC Executive Director Dr Mahalactumy Arjun presented a lecture about the projection of world population and growing world need of food and fibre. Her presentation clearly represented that if biotechnological advancements are not used for meeting the challenges, a major crisis is expected which may lead to food related riots and civil war.

Bangladesh’s leading biotechnologist Prof Dr Imdadul Haq presented the current situation in his country, and its vulnerability towards food security.
PABIC Coordinator Dr Sammer Yousuf presented an overview of the PABIC activities for the promotion of the biotechnology in Pakistan, while welcoming the participants in the event, jointly organised by the PABIC and COMSTECH.
The speakers emphasized the need of swift implementation of biotechnology applications in OIC member states in order to meet the food, fodder and fibre needs growing population, which has already reached 1.8 billion.


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