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Biotech crops can counter food insecurity
18-March-2012 Pakistan Observer
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Islamabad—With the increase in human population, the use of new technology had become a need of the hour and only technological development could ensure food security in the world.

This was the crux of a workshop titled ‘International perspective about the future of biotech crops’, which was participated by experts including Dr Rhodora Aldemita, Senior Programme Officer, Global Knowledge Centre on Crop Biotechnology, International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA) and Dr Mariechel Navarro, Manager, Global Knowledge Centre on Crop Biotechnology, ISAAA.

The experts said that biotech crops offered a sustainable solution and there was a dire need of commercialising the crops to counter food insecurity in developing countries including Pakistan.

“Biotech cotton in developing countries such as China, India, Pakistan, Myanmar, Bolivia, Burkina Faso and South Africa have already made a significant contribution to the income of millions of small resource-poor farmers in 2011; this can be enhanced significantly in the remaining four years of the second decade of commercialisation, 2012 to 2015, principally with biotech cotton, maize and rice,” Dr Navarro said.

The experts stressed that development of the agriculture sector was important for the food, social and economic security of developing countries, while the options of using biotech crops could create a useful impact on farmers’ life, who might achieve both the objectives of food security and economic development.

Dr Aldemita was of the view that due to mega increase in human population, the use of new technology had become need of the hour and only technological development could prevent the world, especially the developing countries, from food insecurity.

While talking about the application of biotech crops, she mentioned that 29 countries were currently using the crops and achieving sustainable growth in their agriculture sector.

She highlighted Brazil as the most successful developing country using biotech crops, where 83 percent of soya and 65 percent of maize were being produced through biotechnology.

The ISAAA experts explained that by using biotech crops, the farmers could achieve healthy production with less expenses and labour.

They urged the need for educating the farmers regarding the use of new technologies as they should be the decisive authority to choose best suited option for a sustainable production, said a report.

Dr Aldemita revealed that there were also some risks related to use of biotech crops, as these crops might interact with other crops and physical environment, causing damage. They urged upon the government and media to play their role in adovocation the use of biotech crops.

“The media organisations should play a positive role to educate the formers regarding use of new technologies, which will strengthen the country’s economy,” they added.

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