Understanding GMO (BT) varieties
Dr Muhammad Arshad
A lready in the Sub continent we are consuming GMO / BT varieties based foods since long. The well known BT variety of cotton crop being planted in India & Pakistan is the most prominent example along with others. The cotton crop yields two major parts cotton & cotton seed.
The cotton seed contains almost 16pc edible oil which is consumed either as 30% blended in Venaspati Ghee. Half of the oil in Cotton seed is obtained after mechanical extraction. As a result of mechanical extraction we get two products. Number one is cotton seed oil number two cotton seed cake.
The cotton seed cake containing approximately 7% to 8% cotton seed oil is consumed by all dairy animals as most common ingredient of their feed all over India and Pakistan. So resultantly, the fat we get in milk is primarily composed of the fat animals are getting in the shape of Cotton Seed oil present in cotton seed cake. The flavor aroma and taste of milk, curd, Desi Ghee and all products being consumed since decades without reports of any human health hazards prepared from Milk are having edible oil from GMO / BT variety of cotton.
So claim of Pakistan being a none GMO state does not stand valid who so ever makes it. This is just one example of GMO/ (Genetically modified) / BT (Biotechnology Crop).
Likewise in USA, Canada, China, almost whole Far East zone and parts of EU including Holland and Germany are persistently consuming food prepared from GMO Varieties. Never ever any harmful effects of GMO based food have been reported anywhere in world while a very important factor not known to most of the consumers is that the GMO varieties are genetically pest resistant resultantly require either no or very less quantities of pesticides sprays while contrarily all none GMO crops are badly dependent on various pesticides.
We all know the established carcinogenesis link with almost all pesticides. So much so that even manufacturers of pesticides declare their own products harmful, dangerous for human health and replace their products with new varieties and names from time to time.
Another very important factor for agriculture sector to be considered is that pesticides are applied at different age of plants which result in decaying and decomposing of leaves and most of the biomass which during normal course of time has to be fallen on ground and mixed with the soil as organic manure becoming very good natural sources of minerals along with other useful nutrients for that soil for next crop which otherwise has to be supplemented in the form of chemical fertilizers.
So saving in fertilizers cost is another economical factor in planting GMO crops. On the afore mentioned basis in Pakistan APSEA as Industry and myself as chairman Standing committee Agro based industry of Lahore Chamber of commerce are trying hard to concerned authorities to allow and facilitate GMO varieties imports for crushing as well as plantation.
By achieving our goal we are sure Pakistan will enter in global soymeal market and then sky will be the limit for Pakistan solvent industry.
The writer is the Chairman LCCI standing committee on agro-based industries