Experts warn food crisis may aggravate in Pakistan

Karachi: Leading Pakistani scientists have warned the government that the country is approaching towards drastic famine as irrigation lands are being reduced due to shortage of water.

“Pakistan has produced wheat in surplus quantity, but the recent famine claiming hundreds of lives of children in Thar of Sindh was artificially created by the cruel Feudalism. The increasing population is the real challenge for the country and its policy makers. Biotechnology can bring food security in the country as the technology has great potential to enhance food production.”

They were speaking at a press conference held at the Latif Ebrahim Jamal (LEJ) National Science Information Centre, Karachi University (KU) here on Monday. The press conference was addressed by Prof Dr M Iqbal Choudhary, Director International Centre for Chemical and Biological Sciences, Karachi University (KU), and Pakistan Biotechnology Information Centre (PABIC); Prof. Dr. Anwar Nasim (Chief Patron PABIC, General Secretary Pakistan Academy of Sciences and Chairman Biotechnology Commission Pakistan) and Prof. Dr. Kausar Abdulla Malik (Forman Christiane College Lahore).

The objective of the press conference, organised by Pabic, was to raise awareness about the tremendous potential of biotechnology commercialization for the sustainable development of the economy of Pakistan. On the occasion ISAAA brief 46 was also launched by Prof. Dr. Anwar Nasim.

Dr. Iqbal Choudhary said that food crises has become the fundamental issue in Pakistan, the country may face drastic famine in future as irrigation lands are being reduced due to shortage of water.

“Pakistan is the sixth most populous country of the world with 185 million populations and expected to be fourth with 300 million populations by 2030. The world’s current population is over seven billion. The major challenges faced by the nation are wide-spread food insecurity for the growing population,” he said.

Dr. Anwer Nasim said that Pakistan has made great progress in the field of biotechnology; in the beginning we only four or five institutions working in the field, but now we have 40 to 42 institutions where scientists are engaged in the activities of biotechnology. He urged the scientists to work only for the benefit of the country and nation.

Dr. Kausar Abdulla Malik said that the country’s feudalism was the responsible for the deaths of hundreds of children in Thar as there is no shortage of food in any part of the country. The country has produced wheat in surplus quantity during the last few years.

He said that Pakistan has expertise in all fields of sciences but this expertise is not being used properly for the benefit of the country. He said that biotechnology is the only solution to problems of food crises. “Over populated countries can take this opportunity to overcome food crises. Western countries have launched a campaign against the biotech crops, which is totally unjustified; they actually do not want poor countries to be taken out of the food crises,” he said and added that we need to take benefits from biotechnology, which helps producing genetically modified (GM) crops.

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