Farmers urge govt to approve GM corn seed


The farming community has urged the government to approve the Genetically Modified (GM) corn, which is being planted successfully across the globe, for commercial plantation in Pakistan. The farmers of corn growing areas made this demand during a meeting with senior officials of Monsanto Pakistan, an agricultural biotechnology company. Monsanto officials answered queries of farmers and media representatives relating to biotechnology, especially GM corn product ‘VT Double Pro’.
Monsanto experts said that the field trials of Monsanto Pakistan’s GM corn product have been completed successfully and now only official approval by the government authorities was required to formally launch the product in Pakistan. Monsanto Pakistan’s officials informed farmers that the European Commission has authorised GM maize, cotton, canola, soybean, sugar beet for food/feed use.
They pointed out that corn seeds had been genetically modified to have agronomic desirable traits. Traits that have been engineered into corn include resistance to insect pests and herbicide tolerance, which means that GM corn makes a protein that kills various insect pests without the use of insecticides. Besides, it can also control the losses caused by weeds.
A farmer Sabir Hussain said that they were failing to understand the delay in giving approval to genetically modified crops. “Let these seeds enter the market. If they don’t satisfy our needs, we will not buy them. But at lease farmers should have some choice,” he added. Another farmer Riaz-ul-Haq observed insect, pests and weeds caused considerable losses to corn crop. If GM corn was solution to these problems, it should be introduced in the market forthwith. He said that he wanted to test how this technology (GM corn) works.
Monsanto Pakistan was represented by Muhammad Asim, Regulatory Affairs Lead, Muhammad Ilyas Nadeem, Commercial Operations Lead, Shariq Bukhari, Marketing Lead, Dr Muhammad Naveed, Technology Development Lead, and company’s other officials.