Agricultural research and food security

President Dr. Arif Alvi has stressed the need for ethical and morality-based research and development in biotechnology, agriculture, and virology besides fair distribution of its benefits to provide food security to the entire world without discrimination between rich and poor countries. While addressing the inaugural session of the Kazakhstan-Pakistan-Turkiye Youth Forum on Biotechnology, President said that bio-technologies, like gene therapy, CRISPR, and Case-9 could be used to understand the human genome as well as to recognize and cure genetic diseases, while scientific research should be shared fairly with the rest of the world to overcome collective woes, being faced by the humanity, such as disease, poverty, and food security. The President was of the view that the applications of biotechnology in genome editing, new breeding technologies, large-scale genomics and genomic selection in crop and livestock breeding, speed breeding for rapid genetic gain, and Nanotechnology for Agriculture Applications, were affecting many sectors, especially food and agriculture, and it could be used to end hunger in the world.

Today, development in Science and Technology has introduced new innovations to mankind that have brought unimaginable luxuries and comforts in human life besides the resolution of acute existential problems including malnutrition, hunger, incurable diseases, scarcity of water, and food insecurity. Presently, biotechnology research has become an active player in achieving food security, however, the successive Pakistani governments did not give due importance to this important field, while departmental corruption and brain drain are the other reasons for Pakistan’s depletion in the agriculture sector.

Presently, Pakistan is confronting multiple issues relating to the agriculture sector including improper use of land, water scarcity, lack of high-quality seeds, modern machinery, and lack of knowledge regarding modern techniques and innovations that increase the production of the crops. The agriculture sector needs massive funding by the government along with stringent reforms, discipline, and collaboration with research institutes including the Pakistan Agricultural Research Council (PARC) and leading Universities in the country to assimilate the newest innovations and agricultural techniques into the current setup to achieve self-sufficiency in essential commodities, otherwise feeding over 22 million population would become the greatest challenge for the nation.