Islamabad: The 19th Biosafety Committee meeting was held here under the chairmanship of Secretary Ministry of Climate Change Shahrukh Nusrat to discuss the import of genetically modified organism canola and soybean seed/grains.
The meeting was attended by Chairman Pakistan Agriculture Research Council (PNRC) Dr. Zafar Yousaf, Director General Pakistan Environmental Protection Agency (Pak-EPA) Farzana Altaf Shah, Joint Secretary Ministry of National Food Security and Research Dr. Mohammad Khursheed, Secretary KPK Agriculture Research Center Mohammad Israr, Director Sindh Agriculture Research Center Walli Mohammad and others.
Pak-EPA DG Farzana Altaf Shah, who is also the secretary of the National Biosafety Committee, briefed the committee about the previous meeting agenda and further highlighted that the Technical Advisory Committee(TAC) of Pakistan Agriculture Research Council discussed the recommendations that were requested by All Pakistan Solvent Extractors Association for the import of genetically modified organism (GMO) canola and soybean seed/grains for food, oil-extraction, and processing in Pakistan on trial basis.
It was recommended by the Technical Advisory Committee that the matter be taken up with the Ministry of National Food Security and Research after approval by National Biosafety Committee and the Department of Plant Protection should also be involved to provide empirical information for the import of either GMO canola and soybean or non-GMO canola and soybean seeds.
The members of the Biosafety committee observed that precautionary measures are very important prior to the import of the genetically engineered seeds/grains because GMO possesses high vulnerability to the local micro-organism and biotic species.