Promotion Of Biopesticides In Agriculture Sector Is Critical

The significance of Maximum Residue Limits (MRLs) for pesticides was the event’s main theme.

Promotion Of Biopesticides In Agriculture Sector Is Critical

A Stakeholder Engagement Workshop was held at the National Agricultural Research Center in Islamabad as part of the program “Regulatory Harmonization in Pakistan for MRLs and Biopesticides” by the Pakistan Agricultural Research Council, Center for Agriculture and Bioscience International (CABI), USDA, and USAID. The significance of Maximum Residue Limits (MRLs) for pesticides was the event’s main theme.

When pesticides are used in accordance with good agricultural practise, the maximum residue limits (MRLs) is the highest level of pesticide residue that can legally be found in or on food.

Scientists from across the NARC system, CDRI, ERP-IPEP, Director, AZRC Umerkot, and extension workers from provincial departments of agriculture, the private sector, and from top agriculture universities in Pakistan attended the workshop along with other stakeholders involved in commissioning and implementing research.

Dr. Ghulam Muhammad Ali, the Chairman of PARC, commended the collaborative efforts of CABI with the support of USAID and USDA in reducing the exposure of MRLs and aflatoxin in crucial commodities of Pakistan.

He emphasized the importance of eradicating such issues at the grassroots level to generate greater economic benefits for the country. He also reassured attendees that PARC would continue to work with CABI to implement initiatives that prioritize the health of both people and plants. These initiatives would contribute to improved trade relations with neighboring countries.

To all the attendees of the workshop, Dr. Babar E. Bajwa, Senior Regional Director- Asia at CABI, gave a warm welcome. He emphasised how the collaboration between CABI and PARC fits in well with the modern strategies used by developed countries to address crop health issues.

He went on to share that the establishment of the first Aflatoxin Biocontrol Laboratory at CDRI NARC was a direct result of this collaboration. The first-ever aflatoxin biocontrol product was successfully developed thanks to the collaborative efforts of the implementation partners, Mr. Ira Frydman, Director of the Climate and Sustainable Growth Office at USAID Pakistan, said during the event.

The group also created guidelines for the registration of biopesticides in the nation. This product is anticipated to offer a long-term solution for reducing aflatoxin in corn in South Asia. Sindh’s chilli fields are currently using this cutting-edge bio-control strategy.

The United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Counselor to Pakistan, Mr. Christopher Rittgers, commended the researchers from PARC and CABI for their tireless work in making this project a success.The participants also went to the Ecotoxicology Research Program at NARC and praised the lab’s ISO/IEC accredited Pesticides Residues Testing Laboratory for its analytical prowess.

The event concluded with an engaging question and answer session where participants discussed ways to collectively enhance the capacity of our national scientists. Ideas and perspectives were exchanged on how to foster collaboration and innovation, and the importance of continued investment in the development of our scientific community was emphasized.

The participants agreed that ongoing efforts are necessary to build a sustainable and robust research infrastructure to meet the needs of the country and tackle emerging challenges.