Pakistan faces Food and Nutritional insecurity

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Pakistan faces Food and Nutritional insecurity

The Vice Chancellor of the University of Karachi Prof. Dr. Khalid Mehmood Iraqi has shown serious concerns over the scarcity of food in Pakistan and said that one of the world’s most populous countries was facing a massive challenge of food and nutritional insecurity.

He was speaking at the concluding ceremony of the “International Practical Training Course and Symposium on Applied Genomics and Genome Editing for Food Security” held at the L.E.J. National Science Information Center. The International Center for Chemical and Biological Sciences (ICCBS), University of Karachi, organized the international course in association with Sindh Innovation Research, and Education Network (SIREN). Among others who spoke on the occasion included Dr. Johar Ali, Vice Chancellor of the Usman Institute of Technology (UIT), Prof. Dr. Farzana Shaheen, Director of the ICCBS, University of Karachi, Dr. Shahid Mansoor, the Incharge of the Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Office, ICCBS, Mr. Liaquat Malik (Industry), and Saleem Akhtar (Industry). In the end, Dr. Ishtiaq Ahmed, SFDL Incharge director, presented the vote of thanks.

Prof. Khalid Iraqi, who was the chief guest on the occasion, said that genome editing can play a pivotal role in terms of eliminating the threat of food insecurity in the country. Around 70 percent of Pakistan’s population is economically engaged in the agriculture sector, while we are importing foods from other countries, causing a massive burden on the national economy, he stated. He emphasized the importance of ethics in the workplace and said that any nation could not progress without having such a high ethical standard.

Prof. Dr. Farzana Shaheen, Director of the ICCBS, University of Karachi, commended Dr. Shahid Mansoor for organizing such a useful training session. She said that the Jamil ur Rehman Center for Genome Research at the ICCBS had adequate infrastructure. This center works on high standards and provides services.

Dr. Shahid Mansoor, who was the course coordinator, said that Pakistan is facing a huge issue of food and nutritional security. Both crops and livestock are important contributors to food security and suffer from low productivity, he pointed out, adding that there are exciting developments in genomics, genome editing, and genetic engineering that allow rapid genetic gain in crops, livestock, and industrial microbes.

The Jamil ur Rehman Center for Genome Research, Biotechnology wing, and National Institute of Virology at ICCBS have a massive infrastructure that can be harnessed to serve the nation in general and the Sindh province in particular.