Farmers urge Bio-tech corn introduction

LAHORE – More than 500 corn-farmers attended the field trial and demonstration event organized by Monsanto Pakistan at their field research facility, located at Manga Mandi near Lahore. The event showcased Monsanto’s latest bio-tech corn seed technology together with high performance hybrid seed products. The event drew farmers from across Punjab, with several media outlets covering the event closely.

The major objective of the event was to educate the famer on Monsanto’s latest products and technology. The occasion also included an exhibition space for various vendors and businesses related to the agriculture sector, including agriculture implements manufacturers, on-farm solar energy solution providers, fertilizers, silage and agri finance institutions.

While briefing the visitors, Shariq Bokhari, Sales Effectiveness Lead – Asia & Africa at Monsanto Pakistan, explained that the new bio-tech seed had the potential to increase the yield of corn crop by an additional 05-10 percent through mitigation of yield losses incurred on account of weed and insect attacks. He further explained that Monsanto continuously strives to introduce the best and most suitable technologies in Pakistan and places great emphasis on rigorous testing and quality controls. He highlighted that till date Monsanto Pakistan has showcased the bio-tech technology to over 20,000 farmers, the academia, scientists, students and the media at specially developed learning centers established at the University of Agriculture, Faisalabad, National Agriculture Research Centre, Islamabad, and Monsanto R&D Stations in Manga Mandi and Depalpur.

Farmers attending the event received detailed briefings and practical demonstrations of the new seed technology. Many of the farmers showed excitement at the prospect of a new and technologically advanced seed and urged the introduction of the new bio-tech corn at the earliest.

Explaining the features of the to-be-launched bio-tech corn products, Monsanto’s Regulatory Affairs Lead Muhammad Asim said “the bio-tech seed has special features that enable better yield assurance through protection against weeds and pests, resulting in enhanced livelihood of farming communities.”

Mr. Asim confirmed that the new bio-tech corn received approval in February 2016 for commercialization from the Federal Ministry of Climate Change and currently permissions of hybrids with the modern technology is awaited for commercial import from the Ministry of National Food Security & Research. He explained that all other regulatory requirements had been fulfilled after having initiated the very first trials in 2009 and subsequent submission of commercialization application in 2011. It is expected that the new product will be commercially available soon.

Progressive Farmers from the corn area stressed upon the need to grant hybrid approvals by Ministry of National Food Security & Research immediately so that these technologies become available to farmers.