A one day seminar entitled, “The Capacity Enhancement in Biosafety Evaluation of GM Crops” followed by the launching ceremony of ISAAA Brief 49 was organized by the Pakistan Biotechnology Information Center (PABIC) in collaboration with National Institute of Biotechnology and Genetic Engineering (NIBGE), Faisalabad on 11th March 2015. The Launching ceremony was graced by the presence of Mr Malik Zahoor Ahmed (Chief Coordinator, Zero Hunger and Family Farming Programme, Ministry of National Food Security and Research, Government of Pakistan), and leading biotechnologists / scientists of Pakistan including Prof. Dr. Kausar Adulla Malik H.I., S.I., T.I., (Forman Christiane College Lahore), Prof. Dr. Shahid Manssor (Director National Institute of Biotechnology and Genetic Engineering, NIBGE, Faisalabad), and Prof. Dr. M. Iqbal Choudhary H.I., S.I., T.I., Director PABIC.
The speakers emphasize the need of swift implementation of agribiotech applications in Pakistan in order to meet the food, fodder and fiber needs for the growing population.
Prof. Dr. Kausar Adulla Malik H.I., S.I., T.I.,, in his speech talked about the Pakistan scenario in the global context and appreciated the fact that despite late start, the country has achieved a substantial economic gain through biotechnology application (cotton). He briefed that ISAAA Brief 49 presented a global overview of the biotechnology applications in developed and developing countries. Prof. Kausar added that in 30 biotech cropping countries, the area under biotech cultivation is steadily increasing that bring tremendous benefit to their national economies.
Guest of Honor Mr Malik Zahoor Ahmed (Chief Coordinator, Zero Hunger and Family Farming Programme, Ministry of National Food Security and Research, Government of Pakistan), urged the participants to identify the bottlenecks which are hindering the much needed applications of biotechnology, despite genuine needs of the country.
Prof. Dr. Shahid Mansoor, Director NIBGE appreciates the activities and the efforts of the Pakistan Biotechnology Information Center in order to promote the adaptation of agribiotech. applications in Pakistan. He clearly mentioned that if biotechnological advancements are not used for meeting the challenges, a major national crisis is expected which may lead to food-related riots in the country in near future.
In the end, Prof. Dr. M. Iqbal Choudhary, Director PABIC expressed thanks to reminded them that most of the Muslim nations are the net importer of food commodities. He said that despite the fact that Pakistan is among three Muslim countries, out of 57 nations, who have achieved commercialization of biotech crops, food inflation is still among the highest in Pakistan. Therefore, it is the need of time to adopt the agriculture biotechnology at the national level in order to meet the constantly growing food demands in Pakistan. He presented a brief synopsis of the PABIC activities for the promotion of biotechnology in Pakistan. These activities include the distribution of information about the biotechnology, specifically about crop biotechnology, meetings with progressive farmers and stake-holders, media workshops and seminars in order to enhance the media capacity to understand the biotechnology and its applications. He added that to promote the understanding and appreciation of the importance of biotechnology and it applications in economic development among the youth of Pakistan, PABIC has organized essay and poster competitions and internship programs.