KARACHI: Pakistani scientists have urged the government to modernise agriculture for food security and poverty alleviation. “As compared to agriculture countries of the world, yield per hectare in Pakistan is among the lowest. Pakistan has low yield per acre due to traditional methods of cultivation and harvesting. The country may face severe famine as irrigation lands are being reduced due to shortage of water, said experts while addressing a press conference held at the Latif Ebrahim Jamal (LEJ) National Science Information Centre, Karachi University (KU) late on Monday. “Although the agriculture sector plays an essential role in Pakistan’s economy, the political governments have failed to strengthen this very important sector. Biotechnology can bring food security as the technology has great potential to revolutionise the agriculture sector in the country,” they added. The objective of the conference was to raise awareness about the tremendous potential of biotechnology commercialisation for the sustainable development of the economy of Pakistan. Prof Dr M Iqbal Choudhary, director International Centre for Chemical and Biological Sciences, KU, Sardar Atif Sultan, Prof Dr. Ghulam Sarwar Markhand, Director Date Palm Research Institute (DPRI) Shah Abdul Latif University, and Prof Dr Abdul Razak Mahar also addressed the conference. Dr Iqbal said that Pakistan was rich in fertile land but unfortunately it resources were being wasted. “The country is approaching towards drastic famine as irrigation lands are being reduced due to shortage of water,” he said, adding it was important to introduce modern technologies for commercial farming, and modernize agriculture to achieve food security in Pakistan. Provision of high quality seeds to farmers is the need of the hour for better yield, he said, adding that the promotion of commercial farming at the government level can increase the overall crops’ productivity in the country. “Pakistan’s agriculture sector needs proper attention of the authorities concerned, as it owns a fundamental role in ensuring food safety, generating overall financial growth, dropping poverty and the transforming towards industrialisation, he said Sardar Atif Sultan said that over 40,000 children die in the world everyday from hunger. He stressed the need to promote biotechnology in the country instead of declaring it social taboo, saying the proper use of this modern technology can prevent the country from any possible drought. Prof Dr Ghulam Sarwar Markhand highlighted the past, present and future of agri-biotechnology in Pakistan. He said that the surplus production of food was need of the hour to bring the country on the path of progress.