ISLAMABAD – A week-long International Summer School on ‘Recent Advances in Plant Biotechnology for Sustainable Development (Exploring the hidden potential of Microorganisms), started here at Quaid-e-Azam University (QAU) on Tuesday.
The Department of Plant Sciences (QAU), in collaboration with German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), is hosting the summer school.
Addressing the inaugural ceremony, QAU Vice Chancellor Prof. Dr Masoom Yasinzai said that all the conventional methods which were in use for increasing productivity were almost saturated and “we need to seek alternative and innovative ways.” He said that it was heartening to know that all the topics included in the summer school for deliberation were extremely relevant to the issues that were being faced today.
The vice chancellor congratulated the organisers of the conference, Department of Plant Sciences, Dr Zahid and his team for conducting the event which will provide an ideal opportunity to researchers and students to share their scientific ideas. He praised the efforts of DAAD and said that such events were vital to promote scientific culture between Pakistan and Federal Republic of Germany.
Prof. Dr Asghri Bano, chairperson, Department of Plant Sciences, (QAU), in her welcome address, said that Pakistan had a rich biodiversity of plants, animals and microbes.
“Currently, the biodiversity of our country is facing the threats of deforestation, pollution, population, over-exploitation of natural resources, invasive alien species, environmental problems and population pressure. There is a need to protect biodiversity for future generation in Pakistan by adopting practical measures. The summer school will not only result in success but a healthy scientific collaboration will also emerge through this platform,” she said.
Prof Dr Hans Joerg Jacobsen, head, Institute of Plant Genetics, University of Hanover, Germany, said the world had to master several challenges like population growth, decreasing arable land and climate change as well as decreasing fossil fuel reserves. “We need novel plants which produce more from less land with lower inputs in water, fertilizers and pesticides as the use of more pesticides or fertilizers are not sustainable and water availability will decrease in large parts of the world,” he added.
Dr Jacobsen said the public sector was away from the markets, despite the fact that interesting prototypes had been developed, but are waiting on the shelves. The present level of regulatory measures is no longer tolerable as it prevents the development and the implementation of solutions which are urgently needed. “We have also to bridge the knowledge gap between developed and developing countries as the developing countries need to rely on theie own capacities in order to be able to guarantee locally accepted and demand driven food and feed products,” said the head of Institute of Plant Genetics.
Ms Ursula Saarbeck, chief executive, cultural section, in her detailed presentation, highlighted the services and opportunities provided by German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) to the scholars, academicians and scientists in Pakistan. A large number of students and faculty members attended the inaugural ceremony of DAAD International Summer School.