ISLAMABAD--The experts including international biotechnologists here called for promotion of bio-technology in the agricultural sector for ensuring food security to the increasing population in the country.
"Bio-Technology crops are the safest for human consumption", Dr. Rhodora Aldemita Programme Officer of International Service For acquisition of Agricultural Bio-technology applications said while addressing the concluding session of a seminar on "International perspective about the Future of Biotech Crops ". The seminar was organized by Agricultural Journalistan's Association (AJA), Lahore for creating awareness about the importance of Biotechnology for development of agriculture sector for food security in the country.
A senior Journalist Babar Ayaz conducted the workshop which was attended by more than thirty (30) journalists. The experts were of the view that Pakistan can ensure its food security for its growing population by promoting biotechnology applications in the agriculture sector.
Highlighting the international scenario of Biotechnology applications in the agriculture sector they remarked that Biotech Crop hectares continue to climb after 15 consecutive years of strong growth, as global population soars to seven billion.
They said due to significant benefits, strong growth continued in 2011 with a double-digit increase of 12 million hectares, at an annual growth rate of 8%, reaching 160 million hectares, up from 148 million hectares in 2010. They said that a 94-fold increase from 1.7 million hectares in 1996 to 160 million hectares in 2011, makes biotech crops the fastest adopted crop technology in recent history.
The most compelling testimony to biotech crops was that in the period 1996 to 2011, millions of farmers in 29 countries worldwide, made more than 100 million independent decisions to plant and replant an accumulated hectarage of 1.25 billion hectares - one principal reason underpins the trust and confidence of risk-averse farmers in the technology - biotech crops deliver sustainable and substantial, socioeconomic and environmental benefits, they said.
They further highlighted that out of the 29 countries planting biotech crops in 2011, 19 were developing and 10 were industrial countries. The top 10 countries each grew more than one million hectares and they provide a broad-based, worldwide foundation for diversified growth in the future, they added.
They said that in 2011, a record 16.7 million farmers, up 1.3 million or 8% from 2010, grew biotech crops - notably over 90%, or 15 million, were small resource-poor farmers in developing countries; farmers are the masters of risk aversion and in 2011, a record 7 million small farmers in China and another 7 million in India, elected to plant 14.5 million hectares of Bt cotton.
Speakers apprised that developing countries grew 50% of global biotech crops in 2011 and are expected to exceed industrial country hectarage in 2012. In 2011, growth rate for biotech crops was twice as fast, and twice as large, in developing countries, at 11% or 8.2 million hectares, versus 5% or 3.8 million hectares in industrial countries.
Stacked traits are an important feature - 12 countries planted biotech crops with two or more traits in 2011, and encouragingly 9 of the 12 were developing countries - 42.2 million hectares, or more than a quarter, of the 160 million hectares were stacked in 2011, up from 32.3 million hectares or 22% of the 148 million hectares in 2010. They experts also called upon both print and electronic media in Pakistan to promote and project the biotechnology and its benefits for the farmers community and the economic prosperity of the country.--Agencies