Climate change, population threat to food security: Bosan
FAISALABAD: Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research, Sikander Hayat Khan Bosan on Wednesday said that climate changes and increasing population are posing a serious threat to food security.
He was addressing 1st Pakistan Seed Congress themed Seed for Food Security arranged at the University of Agriculture Faisalabad. He stressed upon the researchers and scientists to come up with new crop varieties resilient to climate changes. He said that the parliament had amended Seed Act that will help fight the challenges of food security and increment in productivity.
He said that the government was also bringing a Plant Breeding Bill to strengthen the agriculture sector in the country. He said that the government had brought a ‘Kissan Relief Package’ worth Rs341 billion to give relief to farming community.
He also said that it is the hallmark step that will enable the farming community to cultivate the next crops and address their problems. He said under the package, rice and cotton growers having 12.5 acres or less land are getting Rs5,000 per acre support. He said that steps are afoot to upgrade the seed sector in the country to increase the agricultural productivity. He was of the view that ensuring food security is the priority of government and all possible avenues are being explored for the purpose.
UAF Vice Chancellor Dr Iqrar Ahmad Khan said that the agricultural productivity in the major crops was facing the stagnant for which academia, researchers, government and industry should step up their efforts to ensure the food security. He said that availability of quality seed was the problem for the farming community for which measures are needed. He said that the university had introduced seed technology as the major in degree programmes. He said that Seed Centre was established to conduct the research and preserve the germplasm. He said, “As you sow, so shall you reap. Therefore, the quality seed is prerequisite to get the good agri productivity.”
Federal Seed Certification and Registration Director General Dr Shakeel Ahmad Khan said the seed act is the hallmark step to address the issue at the national level and there is a dire need to aware the masses about the act and its implementation. He said after enactment of seed act, the country need to explore investment ventures in the seed industry and getting the professionals trained in seed policy, regulations, storage and handling issues.
Seed Association Chairman Bilal Ahmad called for modernising agriculture practices in Pakistan through responsible use of biotechnology to improve the lives of farmers. He said that it is need of the hour to promote private public partnership especially in crop biotechnology.
DG Extension Anjum Ali Bhuttar said, “We are importing 90 percent of vegetable seeds. If we develop the seed industry, we can save millions of the rupees.” Dr Gill from Washington States University, US said that first seed congress would come up with tangible results. UAF Vic Chancellor Prof Dr Iqrar Ahmad Khan along with other also inaugurated the seed expo at the Expo Centre, UAF.