Development of Agriculture Biotechnology in Pakistan

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Abstract:

Agriculture plays an important role in the national economy of Pakistan, where most of the rapidly increasing population resides in rural areas and depends on agriculture for subsistence. Biotechnology has considerable potential for promoting the efficiency of crop improvement, food production, and poverty reduction. Use of modern biotechnology started in Pakistan since 1985. Currently, there are 29 biotech centers/institutes in the country. However, few centers have appropriate physical facilities and trained manpower to develop genetically modified (GM) crops. Most of the activities have been on rice and cotton, which are among the top 5 crops of Pakistan. Biotic (virus/bacterial/insect) and abiotic (salt) resistant and quality (male sterility) genes have already been incorporated in some crop plants. Despite acquiring capacity to produce transgenic plants, no GM crops, either produced locally or imported, have been released in the country. Pakistan is signatory to the World Trade Organization, Convention on Biological Diversity, and Cartagena protocols. Several legislations under the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights have been promulgated in the country. National Biosafety Guidelines have been promulgated in April 2005. The Plant Breeders Rights Act, Amendment in Seed Act-1976, and Geographical Indication for Goods are still passing through discussion, evaluation, and analysis phases. Meanwhile, an illegal GM crop (cotton) has already sneaked into farmer's field. Concerted and coordinated efforts are needed among various ministries for implementation of regulation and capacity building for import/export and local handling of GM crops. Pakistan could easily benefit from the experience of Asian countries, especially China and India, where conditions are similar and the agriculture sector is almost like that of Pakistan. Thus, the exchange of information and experiences is important among these nations.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission, Agriculture and Biotechnology Division, PO Box No. 1114, Islamabad, Pakistan.

Publication date: September 1, 2007

More about this publication?
  • The Journal of AOAC INTERNATIONAL publishes refereed papers and reviews in the fields of chemical, biological and toxicological analytical chemistry for the purpose of showcasing the most precise, accurate and sensitive methods for analysis of foods, food additives, supplements and contaminants, cosmetics, drugs, toxins, hazardous substances, pesticides, feeds, fertilizers and the environment available at that point in time. The scope of the Journal includes unpublished original research describing new analytical methods, techniques and applications; improved approaches to sampling, both in the field and the laboratory; better methods of preparing samples for analysis; collaborative studies substantiating the performance of a given method; statistical techniques for evaluating data. The Journal will also publish other articles of general interest to its audience, e.g., technical communications; cautionary notes; comments on techniques, apparatus, and reagents.
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