Pakistan is an agriculture-based country and agriculture is the major contributor to the gross domestic product (GDP) of Pakistan. Almost 65% of Pakistan’s population lives in rural areas. Therefore, agriculture development needs special attention for food security. The Agro-based industries & economic development of the country deeply depends on Agriculture. Investment in agriculture will have a positive impact on the income of farming and non-farming families. Agriculture development needs a holistic strategy and broad-based change in the policy and economic context. A comprehensive scheme includes easy access to credit, improvement in irrigation system, quality seed, fertilizer, extension services, other inputs and modern technologies at gross root level with dedication, commitment and with effective implementation policy.
Policymakers and all stakeholders need to design interventions and with a complete view of the process of rural and agriculture development
Policymakers and all stakeholders need to design interventions and with a complete view of the process of rural and agriculture development. Seed being the basic reproductive material in agriculture, its improvement is the centerpiece of a comprehensive policy. Seed improvement requires combining progressive farmers’ knowledge with modern technologies of genetics and molecular biology to develop new varieties of all crops that have higher yields. Our plant breeders use conventional breeding techniques which is a slow process but now application of new technologies of genetics and molecular biology is the need of hour to feed increasing world population and meet industrial needs for agricultural products. Green revolution of the 1970’s was based on new wheat and rice varieties development through modern technologies. Knowledge of gene structure and to manipulate genes to develop new crop varieties with precision & using Molecular biology, Microbiology and Biotechnology techniques. Biotechnology has tremendous applications in health care, Environment, Industry, Industrial Processes, livestock and agriculture. Biotechnology is the use of living organisms to improve plants or animals and also use of various biological processes for various beneficial processes. In Biotechnology, recombinant DNA (rDNA) technology is a modernized technique employed to produce novel organisms. In genetic engineering of plants, genes of interest are isolated from a (Plant or Animal) and inserted into another plant that results in the production of the genetically modified (GM) plant which expresses novel characteristics as per desire and need. The United States released the first biotech crop in the early 1990s. Since then 50 plus countries have started harnessing the potential of Biotechnology for plant improvement but sadly Pakistan’s performance in this regard is not up to the mark.
In the late 90s, the Government of Punjab took initiatives for supporting research and development in the field of genetic engineering but later it went to become a low priority. A lot of precious time was wasted. India and China started a biotechnology development program in the same time and commercialized their first GM crop (BT Cotton) in 2001. Federal government made a national commission on BT in 2003 and it played a key role in the promotion of Biotechnology in the country but later it was discontinued. Biotechnology should be a cornerstone of our agriculture development policy so that the cultivation of economically important crops is made available to our poor farmers with the help of improved seeds. It is a consensus among scientists and world leadership that the twenty-first century belongs to Biotechnology and life sciences. Hence. It needs actual attention and focus with dedication and commitment for the development of agro-based industries and food security, a comprehensive strategy with proper implementations is required to uplift the economy of Pakistan.
The writer is an Entrepreneur , Educationist , Writer & Renowned multi-disciplinary Researcher