Around 130 national and international academicians and scientists hailing from seven different countries including Turkey, Tunisia, Sudan, Iran, Sri Lanka, and Uzbekistan attended a workshop held here to promote the safe use of modern biotechnology to attain the goal of food security and defeating hunger and poverty.
Minister for Food Security and Research Sikandar Hayat Khan Bosan inaugurated the 3rd International Conference on Agriculture, Food Security and Biotechnology on Wednesday.
The 2-day event being held at the National Agriculture Research Center, Islamabad, is jointly organised by Commission on Science and Technology for Sustainable Development in the South (COMSATS), ISESCO and Pakistan Agricultural Research Council (PARC).
Addressing the audiences, the minister said that it was time that the countries of the region should encourage and support smart agricultural practices.
He said safe use of modern biotechnology was needed to enhance agricultural production and get rid of malnutrition and starvation. The minister pledged full support for agricultural production which was the backbone of economy with sustainable food security.
Dr Ghulam Muhammad Ali, Member Coordination and Monitoring, PARC, Islamabad, noted that advances in science and technology were the need of time for food security and safety. Noting the hunger still prevailing in various parts of the world, he opined that biotechnology was the basis of production of vast variety of transgenic and genetically modified crops which can solve the problem of hunger.
He said that the conference having similar agenda was good for the developing countries as it would open ways for research, collaboration and capacity building.
Speaking on the occasion, Dr Kauser Malik, Department of Biological Sciences, FC College Lahore, mentioned that it was our fear of unknown that kept the human beings away from adapting new technologies and advocated the use of genetically modified crops for addressing hunger.
In his message, Dr SM Junaid Zaidi, Executive Director COMSATS, said that despite major developments around the globe, many areas struggle with challenges of starvation and malnutrition. Even the developed countries cannot engage in bigger pursuits without ensuring food security. Mentioning the importance of biotechnology in agriculture, he noted that biotechnological influence on food production and agriculture is undeniable especially for countries like Pakistan with fertile lands and good weather conditions.
The message from Director General ISESCO, HE Dr. Abdulaziz Othman Altwaijri, noted that there was a dire need to provide an enriching and engaging environment to foster crop science research towards new and improved livelihood opportunities and sustainable food security. He considered collaborations in this regard necessary and appreciated the cooperation between ISESCO and COMSATS.
Shields were given to the esteemed participants who came from different countries for the conference.