Food scarcity is one of the biggest challenges of the future and Global food insecurity is the leading threat in the developing world, stated by Prof. Dr. M. Iqbal Choudhary, Director of the PABIC and International Center for Chemical and Biological Sciences (ICCBS), University of Karachi, and COMSTECH Coordinator-General, on Tuesday, at the seminar on “Science Communication and Public Engagement” held at the COMSTECH Secretariat.
Dr. Rhodora Aldemita, Director ISAAA SE Asia Center and ISAAA Global Knowledge Center on Crop Biotechnology, Prof. Dr. Kauser Abdulla Malik, Director of the Research, Innovation & Commercialization (ORIC) Forman Christian College, Lahore, Senior Science Journalist Aleem Ahmed, and PABIC Coordinator Dr. Sammer Yousuf also spoke on the occasion. The ISAAA Brief 55 was also launched at the event.
Dr. Rhodora Aldemita showed serious concerns over the growing food insecurity in different parts of the world and said that the massive global population required 70 percent more food.
She said, “Safeguarding food security and nutrition is critical in order for countries to overcome problems of hunger and malnutrition.” The most adopted biotech crops by the 29 countries were soybeans, maize, cotton, and canola, she said, adding that farmers have a good opportunity to use a good variety of biotech crops.
Prof. Dr. M. Iqbal Choudhary, who is also heading PABIC as Director, said that more than 820 million people in the world were still hungry in 2018 which makes it difficult to achieve the Zero Hunger target by 2030. The world had suffered from a shortage of basic food, or faced hunger due to widespread famine, at least twice in a short life span, he said globally biotech crops have contributed to food security, sustainability, and climate change by increasing crop productivity and helping alleviate poverty through uplifting the livelihood of farmers and agriculture-related workforce, he observed. Talking about science communication, he said that communicating science to the public was quite important, as fruits of human ingenuity could reach people who need them the most.
Prof. Dr. Kauser Abdulla Malik underlined the importance of biotech crops and said that biotech crops were being globally adopted because of their enormous benefits to the environment, the health of humans and animals, and contribution to the improvement of the socio-economic condition. Talking about the journey of biotechnology in Pakistan, he said that HEC had played a pivotal role in terms of supporting biotech institutions in Pakistan.