The National Launching Ceremony of ISAAA Brief 51 was organized by the Pakistan Biotechnology Information Center (PABIC) at the Latif Ebrahim National Science Information Center (University of Karachi), on 20th June 2016. The Launching ceremony was graced by the presence of Mr. Sardar Atif Sultan (Chief Executive Officer, Cantonment Board Malir, Karachi), Prof Dr. Ghulam Sarwar Markhand, (Director Date Palm Research Institute, Shah Abdul Latif University, Khairpur, Sindh) and Prof. Dr. Abdul Razak Mahar (Chairman, Department of Botany Shah Abdul Latif University, Khairpur, Sindh) and Prof. Dr. M. Iqbal Choudhary H.I., S.I., T.I., Director PABIC.
The ceremony was attended by more than 120 researchers, senior journalists, media representatives and university faculty.
The Chief guest Mr. Sardar Atif Sultan and speakers Prof Dr. Ghulam Sarwar Markhand, Prof. Dr. Abdul Razak Mahar and Prof. Dr. M. Iqbal Choudhary emphasise the need for swift implementation of agribiotech applications in Pakistan in order to meet the food, fodder and fiber needs for the growing population. While talking to media personnel they reminded that the most important of human needs are food, fodder, and fiber. This all comes from the agriculture sector. Therefore the agriculture sector is, and will remain be the most important sector in the economy of Pakistan. Effective and judicious applications of modern agriculture biotechnology can thus play an important role in the sustainable agriculture development of different countries, including Pakistan.
Prof. M. Iqbal Choudhary briefed the audience regarding important facts and figures in the ISAAA brief 51 written by Dr. Clive James and inform them that it is the 20th Anniversary of the global commercialization of biotech. crops. He talked about the role of Dr. Norman Borlauge for the promotion of Agribiotechnology. While talking to media Prof. Dr. M. Iqbal Choudhary said,“Around 20 per cent Pakistanis have been identified with acute malnutrition, while ten years back this figure was 10 per cent”. Prof. Dr. Abdul Razak Mahar added that, “The country may face drastic famine in future as irrigation lands are being reduced due to the shortage of water. The proper use of modern biotechnology tools can bring food security in the country”. Prof. Iqbal further elaborates that, “The national political and religious parties must include in their political manifesto the issue of eradication of food insecurity from the country, as food crises have become the country’s fundamental issue due to unchecked increase in the population. He said that we are living in the sixth most populous country of the world with 185 million populations and expected to be fourth with 300 million populations by 2030. The world’s current population is over seven billion. Prof Dr. Ghulam Sarwar Markhand said that the major challenges faced by the nation are wide-spread food insecurity for the growing population. Biotechnology can bring food security in the country as the technology has great potential to enhance food production.
The media representative appreciate the role of ISAAA and PABIC for the distribution of information about the biotechnology, specifically about crop biotechnology
Prof.Dr.M. Iqbal Choudhary presenting the ISAAA Brief 51 to Press representatives
Chief guest Mr. Sardar Atif Sultan, Dr. Ghulam Sarwar, Dr. M. Iqbal Choudhary, and Prof. Dr. Abdul Razak Mahar responding the questions of media relevant to food security and application of agriculture biotechnology.