LAHORE  -  Value assessment trial of GM maize seed technology was showcased by Crop Life Pakistan Association in Gojra on Thursday.

The main objective of the event was to exhibit the numerous benefits of biotechnology and provide rel­evant stakeholders with an opportunity to observe first-hand the performance of the GM maize hybrids in the field. On the occasion, farmers emphasized the im­portance of cultivating GM maize in Pakistan, explain­ing it is important to move from subsistence farming practices to more technologically advanced commer­cial farming.

Muhammad Munir, a local farmer, was particularly excited to see visible benefits of GM maize in the field.

“Biotechnology is the ideal tool for farmers to im­prove their profitability through reduced input cost and improved yields”, he said.

Speaking to the journalists on the occasion, member of Crop Life Pakistan’s Biotech and Seed Committee, reiterated the unblemished safety record of biotech crops and the yield advantages that can be attained through this technology whilst providing data and case studies.

“Contrary to misconceptions, there is a complete consensus amongst the scientific community, locally and internationally, on the efficacy and safety of bio­technology. In fact, no food safety or health issue has been associated with biotech crops since its introduc­tion in 1996.

PARC in National Uniform Yield Trials (NUYT) has observed yield advantage between 10% and 45% for biotech maize hybrids against conventional hy­brids. Globally, the countries that have adopted bio­technology have Witnessed an appreciable increase in average yields. The US, for example, improved its aver­age yield by 56% while the average maize crop yields of Brazil and Philippines have also increased by 102% and 72%, respectively.

Muhammad Asim, Chair, Crop Life Pakistan Biotech and Seed Committee, also briefed the media on the im­portance of adopting biotechnology for Pakistan.

He said, “Over the past 20 years more than 95% maize area has seen hybrid seed adoption, resulting in a phenomenal four-fold yield increase. With most area already under maize hybrid cultivation, the yield growth will be nominal in the coming years; therefore, biotechnology will be essential to sus­tain an appreciable growth trajectory in the future”, Asim explained.