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Pakistan Scientists urged to safeguard
agri resources by Anwer Abbas
14-May-2008 via Agbios
Federal Minister for Environment
Hameedullah Jan Afridi has called on scientists, civil society
representatives and regulators to take the responsibility
of safeguarding agricultural resources and human health by
adopting new "Genetically Modified Organisms".
Addressing a seminar on 'GMOs Applications and Implications'
organised by Environmental Protection Agency in a hotel
Tuesday, the minister said, "GMOs has attained utmost
importance due to increasing demand of food products world
He said such seminars were essential for awareness raising
and educating the masses about the importance of engineered
food and non-food items and highlighting the need for environmental
He said biotechnology, its dynamics and rapidly evolving
scientific research had created need for GMO applications
in lifelines including agriculture, health, industry and
environment. Afridi said modern techniques of biotechnology
was being utilised to stabilise and enhance crops yield,
improve the standard of livelihood of poor population, provide
nutrient enriched and better quality food and reduce negative
"Our institutions like National Institute of Biotechnology
and Genetic Engineering, Centre for Excellence in Molecular
Biology and National Institute of Agriculture and Biology
can play a vital role in research and developments of GM
Technology and promoting its responsible use," he said.
The minister called on National Bio-Safety Centre of Pak-EPA
to closely work with these institutions and particularly
with the ministry of Food, Agriculture and Livestock to
build their regulatory capacity for enforcing Bio-safety
Regulations. Federal Secretary for Environment Ejaz Ahmed
Qureshi told the audience that the Ministry of Environment
had set up a National Bio-safety Centre in Pakistan and
Environmental Protection Agency would implement and execute
the Pakistan Bio-safety Rules and National Bio-safety Guidelines.
The secretary informed more than 35 research and academic
institutions were working in the country in the field of
biotechnology, which was very encouraging sign. These institutes,
he said, needed to be encouraged for research and development
in GMO technology under adequate Bio-safety conditions.
He said the world community was conscious of the risks of
GMOs and their products.
He said the United Nations had introduced Cartagena Protocol
on the Bio-safety under the umbrella of Convention on Biodiversity
which was an effective tool to create a regime of Bio-safety
among countries involved in "Genetically Modified Organisms"
Qureshi said Pakistan was a signatory to the Cartagena
Protocol on the Bio-safety and was in the process of its
ratification. "We need technically sound institutes
in the country to regulate GMO products once the protocol
is ratified," he added.
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