Islamabad - Federal Minister for National Food Security & Research Sikander Hayat Khan Bosan has called for a dialogue to achieve consensus on the production and use of Genetically Modified (GM) foods through commercialization of GM crops.

While addressing a gathering at ‘Brainstorming Session on Commercialization of GM Crops in Pakistan’ at National Agricultural Research Centre (NARC) here on Sunday, he emphasised finalisation of the National Biotech Policy so that the country could be able to move further in this area.

Bosan suggested immediate constitution of a committee, comprising of two parliamentarians and two scientists with Member (PSD) PARC to make recommendations on the commercialization of GM food crops.

Federal Minister for Housing & Works Akram Khan Durrani co-chaired the event, which was attended by parliamentarians, particularly by the standing committees’ members of National Assembly & Senate on National Food Security & Research.

Dignitaries and experts, representing various sections of society and belonging to various federal and provincial agriculture related research establishments and universities were also present.

Federal Secretary, Ministry of National Food Security and Research Muhammad Abid Javed, in his opening remarks, said that Pakistan had set rules and regulations and put in place other necessary infrastructure for the development and commercialization of GM crops.

“An investment of more than Rs5 billion has been made in this sector,” he said, adding, “But at the same time, the country at the moment is hesitant to opt for other GM crops.”

He said that world food security had always been challenged by climatic, environmental and other biotic and abiotic factors. “There have been technological interventions too, to cope with these challenges,” he added.

On the occasion, Dr Kausar Abdullah Malik, HEC distinguished professor for Biotechnology, gave a detailed presentation on Plant Biotechnology; Facts and Issues, while Dr Muhammad Faheem from Agricultural University Peshawar highlighted the benefits and consequences of adoption of genetically modified crops.