Lack of research keeps biotech crops benefits away
STAFF REPORT IBD: Biotechnology is the best option to tackle issues of food security and economic development in developing countries, but in Pakistan it has not yielded the desired results mainly due to its entry through back door channels.
“The biotechnology that is being used on crops in Pakistan is not in line with the international standards due to lack of research and development activities as well as insufficient financial resources,” Dr Mariechel Navarro, Manager, Global Knowledge Centre on Crop Biotechnology International Service for Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications, during his address at a workshop “International perspective about the future of biotech crops” here.
She said that the number of times pesticides are sprayed has not come down as the technology has entered into the country without research that could address different issues. However, she pointed out that biotech cotton in developing countries such as China, India, Pakistan, Myanmar, Bolivia, Burkina Faso and South Africa contributed a lot to improving the income of millions of small resource-poor farmers last year.
“The income can be increased significantly in the remaining four years of the second decade of commercialisation – from 2012 to 2015 – principally with biotech cotton, maize and rice,” Navarro said.
Owing to the significant benefits, a strong growth in cultivated area continued in 2011 with a double-digit increase of 12 million hectares at an annual growth rate of 8 per cent.