Biotechnology_optSTAFF REPORT IBD: Limited resources, inadequate stock of trained manpower and lack of proper coordination among the institutions are some of the reasons, owing to which biotechnology the sector has not been developed to its full potential.

As a cross cutting field, biotechnology has applications in agriculture, medicine, energy, environment and industry.

According to official sources, during the last few years, over Rs 1 billion have been invested on research and development (RandD) in this area, through various projects approved by the Ministry of Science and Technology (MoST) and the Higher Education Commission (HEC).

In Pakistan, there are 26 institutions engaged in education and research in biotechnology and genetic engineering. A National Commission on Biotechnology was established in 2001 to streamline and promote research in this vital sector.

To promote the RandD as well as commercial aspects of biotechnology in the country, increased government support is required for promulgation of biotechnology legislation, defining standards in accordance with international practices and in establishing technology incubators and biotech parks in public sector in major cities, the sources said.

International cooperation for capacity building in this area through joint research projects needs to be actively pursued, they added.

The Ministry of Science and Technology may assist in the adoption and implementation of “National Biotechnology and Genetic Engineering Policy and Action Plan”, proposed by the defunct National Commission on Biotechnology, which has not been approved so far.

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