Bridging the past and looking into future

03:27 PM | 27 Feb, 2020
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I have been writing since my childhood but after having published an article I usually move on towards another writing up and never look back. Since my piece of work entitled Can the use of biotechnology turn around economy published on 20th January 2020 in an English daily I have read this piece of work several times.

I attended a few modules on business as a part of my Postgraduate training course on Food Industry and Agribusiness at the University of Wageningen Netherlands with support of the Netherlands Fellowship Programme under the umbrella of United Nations.

I never practised my knowledge on food business ventures merely because of my ideology that values knowledge over money above all I put my best to avoid interest that is next to impossible these days in case if I opt to get involved in any type of food business.

Being a molecular biologist with having expertise on epigenetics with food as a speciality, I have written several scholarly articles and paper but none of them covered the business aspect-Money far beyond need bothers me and talking about it is boring. However, I do acknowledge the significance of money but value all that can not be bought by it more than money. I consider greed a state of insanity (mental illness) that has no treatment. Can the use of biotechnology turn around economy published on 20th January 2020 in the business section of Express Tribune is not a planned piece of work? I received an update as an article entitled minister stresses to use of biotechnology in agriculture published on 14th December 2019 in the business section of Express Tribune.

On having a read I could not stop myself from calling Editor Business Section Express Tribune to give my comments as a subject expert. They suggested submitting a write up comprising of my opinion on a subject that initially I was reluctant to do mainly because of my involvement in writing a research paper partly I did not want to contribute for business section anywhere. Since no one else raised voice on this issue and keeping in view the significance of issue in terms of relevance to public health especially the poor ones, I submitted a write up with little hope that it would be published, partly because my perception on issues are very different from others usually contains nothing to flatter but the reality as perceived. Since as already mentioned earlier as well I am a molecular biologist by training whereas my knowledge in area of business is based on a few modules I attended abroad at University of Wageningen, acceptance of write up appeared as a big surprise for me even bigger surprise was my published write up stayed as fifth most-read article for a few days. Every time I read my published article I find nothing mentionable that many people do not know other than it is my first of work in an area where I was reluctant to write upon. The Circulation has invited me to contribute on a regular basis for business-another very unexpected surprise for me.

Every time I read my published write up it takes me in past I start recalling my academic discussions with my father studied at Government College Lahore before joining Dow Medical College who taught me writing in English particularly academic writing playing time-based chess games playing cards etc.

During British Raj, this region used to have enough vegetation including wheat crop to feed well across the region as well as to export to another part of the world. Abu used to tell us that some of the vegetables used to be given free of cost on making any mentionable purchase of produces live stocks etc while referring to a period of his childhood when agriculture in this region was not technology-driven. I learnt it from Abu that my Grand Father who was a collector during British Raj used to mention about lucrative offers he used to receive incapacity of collector in order to support the clients to gain undue favour on land and yield issues from Empire State those he refused to accept and faced the negative consequences I did not see my Grand Father he died when my father was a child, however, Abu revealed that my grandfather used to say that agricultural productivity of this region is never harvested at its best; earning rizq e halal (justifiedly dutiful earning) is most difficult to do, based upon my experience extended over two decades in a teaching and research profession of Food Science and Technology an allied field of agriculture sector both of them are important pillars of Industry and Trade, I second my Grand Father s Both Statements.

At this stage, I realized while writing my piece of work entitled Can the use of biotechnology turn around economy published on 20th January 2020 in business section of Express Tribune I bridged the past of agricultural sector with presently available and proposed options available in this area to patch up the revenue deficit while involving all stakeholders across the food supply chain whereas technologically driven supply chain have additional risk associated with it keeping in view the prevailing situation in agricultural and livestock sector it might take ages by present agricultural sector to evolve into sustainable agriculture technology.

In this region use of technology is more often fascination driven rather than as a result of extensive study and research-based selection of available technological options for a given business concept.

The perception to use biotechnology in agriculture and food has been changing over the period of time.

When little insight on understanding was there Biotechnology used to be considered to provide a solution for all problems ignoring the fact that none of the technologies can provide a remedy for human malpractices and mismanagement drove damages. The death of Dolly the first clone (sheep) produced from a cell taken from adult mammal merely at age of 6.5 years with having symptoms of ageing prematurely raised concerns about this domain of knowledge in the scientific world. Since it is revealed, that s around more than one and a half-decade ago, that environment can alter the expressed characteristics in biotechnologically tailored organisms/breeds, that can drastically affect the yield in addition to organoleptic properties, varying from place to place, Pakistan is highly diverse in terms of geographical and geological profile and soil composition, opting for GMO GM Crops or GM Animals, keeping apart the religious concerns that could account for limiting factor for turning around economy, on having failed to attain expected results/yield, that is very likely to happen for having more intense impact of global warming in this region, contributing as an additional factor, foreseeing famine in future as a consequence for cultivating GMO GM Crops and breeding GM Animals can bring massive economic loss for which common poor people are supposed to bear the consequences by further not affording to pay for previously comparatively reachable produces and livestock, while fueling the blooming Medical Industry prevailing in Pakistan. With use biotechnology on a massive scale, there remains a high risk for evolving biological bugs that can create a situation similar as it is recently happening with Corona Virus in that case Pakistan s Economy is too immature to withstand any additional burden.

The writer is the assistant professor at the Department of Food Science and Technology, University of Karachi. She can be reached at faizaabdurrab@uok.edu.pk