Punjab will have genetically modified maize seed in 2018

LAHORE (Muhammad Yasir) –  Genetically modified maize seed will be available in Punjab next year as the Punjab Seed Corporation (PSC) is in a final process to approve the technology. Experts informed journalists about the development at the Crop Technology Annual Farmer Expo 2017. Monsanto Pakistan hosted the event on Tuesday at its research facility in Manga Mandi. Corn is emerging as an important crop in Pakistan with yields having tripled over the past 15 years, almost entirely driven by access to high yielding hybrid seeds. At present Pakistan is self-sufficient in corn, with over 60 percent of its produce utilised for animal feed, whereas the remaining is consumed by various other industries and food processing facilities. However, considering the ever-increasing demand for corn, including the impressive 10-12 percent growth shown by the poultry industry, corn crop productivity is going to be critical towards ensuring food security for future generations. Genetically modified seed of maize is currently not available in Pakistan.

Experts say the seed has worldwide recognition due to high yield quality and its resistance against pests and herbicides.

Monsanto’s annual expo was attended by 800 farmers from across Punjab Punjab Seed Corporation MD Dr Usman Ali Khan and Agriculture Research DG Dr Abid Mahmood also visited the event. They were briefed on Monsanto’s latest technology. Monsanto Pakistan showcased its latest bio-tech corn seed technology together with high performance hybrid seed products. The farmer expo had more than 25 exhibits by several related businesses and organisations, including Punjab Directorate of Information, University of Agriculture Faisalabad, Lahore University of Management Sciences, agriculture machinery manufacturers, fertiliser companies, silage solution providers and Financial service providers.

On the occasion, Lance Wang, Vice President South East Asia and Pakistan explained, “Monsanto is a leading global provider of technology-based solutions and agricultural products that improve farm productivity and food quality. We remain focused on enabling both small-holder and large-scale farmers to produce more from their land while conserving natural resources such as water and energy.”

Aamir Mirza, Pakistan Country Lead, reaffirmed Monsanto’s commitment to delivering latest seed and technology solutions to Pakistani farmers. While sharing his views on the growth prospects of agriculture sector in Pakistan, Mirza said, “Monsanto’s biotech corn seed has been granted approval by the federal government and will be available to farmers after fulfilling registration requirements in the province. The new biotech corn will have an insect resistant feature along with herbicide tolerance that will enable Pakistani farmers to enhance productivity, reduce input and labour cost and improve grain quality.”