LAHORE Pakistan will have to adopt genetically modified (GM) or biotech crops in the shortest possible time to tap true potential of agricultural productivity in the country. This was the upshot of speeches made at a seminar on Benefits of using biotechnology to boost agriculture produce, organised by Pakistan Biotechnology Information Centre (PABIC) in collaboration with Agriculture Journalists Association (AJA) at a local club here. The objective of the seminar was capacity building of the agriculture journalists about benefits of biotechnology. The seminar was addressed by Dr. Anwar Nasim, Chairman of the International Council for the Life Sciences Pakistan Chapter, Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission Director General (Biosciences Division) Dr. Yusuf Zafar, International Centre for Chemical and Biological Sciences (ICCBS) Associate Professor Dr. Saifullah Khan and Dr. Kausar Abdullah Malik, former Member (Agriculture) Planning Commission and senior scientist. All biotechnology scientists were of the view that the government should expedite the process of licensing the new variety of hybrid corn seeds which have successfully completed the field trials, enact enabling laws like Plant Breeders Act and implement IPR laws effectively. Experts pointed that the farmers are receptive to biotech crops and the proof of this is that almost 80% farmers have switched to the legal and illegally acquired BT cotton seeds, while the agreements regarding bringing in Bollgard II is pending for over a year. Biotechnology scientists said that in view of the increasing population, water scarcity and surging demand Pakistan should move on a fast-track basis for ensuring food security. They said that BT crops not only increase agriculture production but also reduce use of pesticides, which in turn improves the environment. The benefits of introduction of new BT seeds will be huge for our farmers, they underlined. While brushing aside misconceptions about biotechnology, the experts said ever-increasing global adoption of biotech crops was a testimony of the fact that biotech crops were safe and all the propaganda against biotech crops was baseless. The seminar concluded with the distribution of certificates to the participants by the chief guest Dr Anwar Nasim.