An Analysis of the Development and Regulation of Agricultural Biotechnology in Pakistan

Roberts A, Nazli H, Wach M, Zafar Y
December 14, 2012

Abstract: In Pakistan, a significant investment has been made in technologies and research to support the development of indigenous GE plants. In addition, Pakistan is a Party to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety which requires, among other things, that decisions related to the movements of LMOs across borders (i.e., transboundary movement) be informed by a risk assessment. In response to this, and other domestic and international obligations, the Government of Pakistan (GoP) has promulgated a biosafety regulatory system. This system has been in operation since 2005 and has achieved some success in regulating the introduction of GE plants in Pakistan, particularly in allowing field trials under confined conditions.

The purpose of this analysis is to present the context for biosafety regulation in Pakistan, including the investment and infrastructure currently dedicated to advanced agricultural technologies, and to review the legal and regulatory framework present in the country. It presents the historical context for the introduction and regulation of Bt cotton, the only GE plant to receive commercial regulatory approval in Pakistan, as well as reviewing some of the challenges facing the biosafety system. Finally, it looks at opportunities for advancing the biosafety regulatory system in order to improve the ability of the government and people of Pakistan to adopt technologies that will bring benefit to Pakistani agriculture while ensuring an adequate level of protection for the environment.

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Suggested Citation: Roberts, A., Nazli, H., Wach, M. and Zafar, Y. (2012). An Analysis of the Development and Regulation of Agricultural Biotechnology in Pakistan. Agriculture & Food Systems Institute (AFSI), Washington, D.C.