University of Agriculture Faisalabad (UAF) in collaboration with industry will set up 100 demonstration/trial spots of approved new varieties of soybean at farmer’s fields in order to promote its cultivation which will help lower down import bill and increase farmers’ income. This was stated by UAF Vice Chancellor Prof. Dr. Iqrar Ahmad Khan while addressing the National Soybean Dialogues arranged at the Center for Advanced Studies in Agriculture and Food Security, UAF. He said, “We have to curtail misconception about the GM crops prevailing in some segment of the society. The GM/non GM both varieties will help address the challenges of food insecurity”. He said that the country is importing edible oil of $4 billion. Therefore, promotion of soybean and other oil-seed crops is imperative to cater to domestic needs, he said, the soybean is also an essential item of poultry feed as the poultry sector is playing an important role in coping with malnutrition issue. He added that essential commodities worth $10 billion per annum is imported. It is extremely important to dispel unfounded misgivings against scientifically, environmentally and economically viable technologies. He said that around 70 countries are growing GM crops commercially over an estimated area of 190 million hectare. Nearly all countries in the world are trading in GM commodities/ soybean and GM products. North America, major commodity producing countries in South America, China, India and Australia are commercial hubs of GM crops. The GM crops are not only cheaper and safer to grow but also environment friendly, he added. Director General (DG) Ayub Agricultural Research Institute (AARI) Dr. Muhammad Nawaz said that tangible research work on the agriculture is being carried out that will help food security. Such dialogues are need of the hour to flourish the sector, he added. Dr Khalid Shouq said that academia-industry linkages would bring a tangible change and a step toward knowledge-based economy.
Pakistan Poultry Association President Muhammad Ashraf, stakeholders from industry, policy makers and representatives of government and research institutes participated in the dialogue.