GENETICALLY MODIFIED: GM CROPS – BOON OR BANE?

The Express Tribune, August 12th, 2016.

Peer Muhammad

ISLAMABADExperts are currently debating whether introduction of genetically modified crops (GMCs) would help fulfil nutritional requirements and improve agricultural productivity – or carry with it unwarranted adverse consequences if GMCs are introduced without following standard safety measures.

The views were expressed during a brainstorming session on commercialisation of GMCs in Pakistan, organised by the Ministry of National Food Security and Research at the Pakistan Agriculture Research Centre (Parc).

Dr Muhammad Fahim, a biotechnology expert and professor of Peshawar, warned that among many health implications, there would be adverse effects of GMCs on agriculture exports to European countries if these are adopted without required capacity and safety measures.

“These countries are concerned in the matter and you may lose a good export market,” he maintained. He added that the adaptation of GMCs was not harmful per se, but the lack of expertise on Pakistan’s part to deal with GM technology was a cause for concern.

Meanwhile, former Parc chairman and pro-genetically modified organisms (GMOs) scientist Kauser Abdullah said that the GMO can increase the productivity of famers and it could build tolerance to biotic stress. He added that GMOs will help reduce cost of production and increase productivity. He further said that it will also increase nutritional content in addition to increase the productivity of meat and milk.

The ministry of climate change has given the green light to two multinational companies – Monsanto and DuPont/Pioneer – for commercialisation of the GM corns, which triggered widespread criticism and concerns from the farmer community and experts.

http://tribune.com.pk/story/1160532/genetically-modified-gm-crops-boon-bane/

 

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