The Pakistan Science Foundation (PSF) established a Task Force on Biotechnology in 1995, which resulted in many recommendations in various sectors, including agriculture and livestock. More recently, the Prime Minister's High Level Commission for Science and Technology, supported by the World Bank (1996/9 7), includes a standing committee on biotechnology In spite of the massive role of multinational companies in R & D of agricultural biotechnology, the national government still has major regulatory control over the testing, multiplication, distribution and safety of agricultural biotechnology products. Pakistan does not yet have a policy/legislation for intellectual property rights (IPRs) to cover patents involving biotechnology and biosafety codes for genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

Agricultural biotechnology must be considered as a supplement to existing crop improvement programmes. It is not a panacea, but a technology which, when backed up with other management strategies, is capable of delivering results. The following national projects, if taken up seriously, will definitely create an economic impact. These technologies are well known:

• Mass production of disease-free banana plants.

• Multiplication of virus-free potato.

• Multiplication of disease-free sugar-cane plants.

• Rapid multiplication of exotic clones of sugar cane.

• Rapid multiplication of female papaya, pineapple and other economically important fruits/flowers.

• Development of crops for biotic/abiotic stresses through genetic engineering.

• Initiation of molecular breeding work to speed up incorporation of desired traits through conventional breeding.

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