ISLAMABAD - Atomic Energy Commission Director General Dr Yousuf Zafar has appreciated the fact that despite late start, the country has achieved a substantial economic gain through biotechnology application (cotton).
Using Pakistan as a model country, he urged the other OIC nations to move forward in bringing forth the biotechnology for solving the problem of food insecurity. He was speaking at the three-day international workshop entitled “Applications of modern biotechnology in Muslim countries - Specific issues and challenges”, at COMSTECH Headquarters in Islamabad.
Thirty-five top biotechnologists from seven countries are participating in this high level policy level meeting. These include representatives of ISAAA, Iranian Biotechnology Information Center (IrBIC), Bangladesh Biotechnology Information Center (BdBIC), Atomic Energy Commission and Pakistan Biotechnology Information Center (PABIC).
Prof Dr M Iqbal Choudhary, Director PABIC, presented an overview of the status of applications of biotechnology in OIC region. He urged the participants to identify the bottleneck, 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 commercialization of biotech crops.
Dr Mariechel J Navarro and Dr Rhodora Aldemita of the ISAAA 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 economies. She also presented the ISAAA’s enabling role in the promotion of biotechnology in the world and bringing the reliable stats to the world.
Prof. Behzad Gerzyari of IrBIC 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 biosafety. He presented the case studies of Iran and Turkey where despite the strong research base, various factors have hindered the commercialization of biotechnology. Dr. Mahalactumy Arjun, Executive Director MABIC, presented a lecture about the projection of world population and growing world need of food and fiber. 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.
Prof Dr Imdadul Haq, a leading biotechnologist of Bangladesh, presented current situation in his country, and it vulnerability towards food security.
Dr Sammer Yousuf, Coordinator PABIC, presented an overview of the Pakistan Biotechnology Information Center (PABIC) activities for the promotion of the biotechnology in Pakistan, while welcoming the participants in the event, jointly organized by the PABIC and COMSTECH.
The speakers emphasize the need of swift implementation of biotechnology applications in OIC member states in order to meet the food, fodder and fiber needs of growing population.
The eminent speakers included Dr Yousuf Zafar, Dr Rhodora Aldemita (Program Manager, Global Knowledge Center on Crop Biotechnology, ISAAA), Mahaletchumy Arujanan (Executive Director Malaysian Biotechnology Information Centre), Prof Dr. Behzad Ghareyazie (Executive Director IrBIC Malyasina Biotechnology Information Centre), Prof Dr M Imdadul Hoque (Bangladesh), Dr Mariechel J Navarro (Manager), Global Knowledge Center on Crop Biotechnology, ISAAA) and Prof. Dr. Kausar Abdullah Malik, renowned biotechnologist of Pakistan.