Lahore, December 11, 2012 (PPI-OT): Provincial Minister for Agriculture Ahmad Ali Aulkah has said that government is spending sufficient amount of energy and resources for the promotion of bio technology.
The Provincial Minister was speaking at a seminar on “Bio-fuel Challenges and Opportunities” organized by the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry on Tuesday. LCCI President Farooq Iftikhar, Vice Chancellor University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences (UVAS) Dr Talat Naseer Pasha and Convener LCCI Committee on Bio-technology Dr Shahid Raza also spoke on the occasion.
The Minister said that the Punjab government had already handed over 1500 biogas plants to the rural community at a subsidy of Rs 50,000 per unit and the only objective is to promote alternate energy resources.
He said that since more than 60 per cent of country’s exports belong to agriculture therefore biotechnology is of prime importance. He said that the recent electricity shortage has badly hit the Agriculture and the industrial sectors and it is very unfortunate that the country is getting no benefit of its bio-fuel potential while by next year neighboring India would be fulfilling 20 per cent of its total energy needs through biofuels.
Speaking on the occasion, the LCCI President Farooq Iftikhar said that there is no doubt about the enormous potential of biotechnology in Pakistan. Today, life sciences and in particular biotechnology are in a stage of exponential growth. It is rightly said that 21st Century belongs to biotechnology.
He said that there are a number of fields derived from biotechnology like agriculture biotechnology, environmental biotechnology, health biotechnology, industrial biotechnology and nano biotechnology.
He said that renewable and sustainable energy resources are the best substitute to the conventional fuels and energy sources as the business community understands that bio-fuels will reduce our dependence on petroleum to some degree and enhance energy security.
Likewise it will also contribute in rural economic development. He said that the countries like USA, Brazil and China are leading consumers of ethanol. Many countries world over have gradually introduced Flexible-Fuel Vehicles (FFV) which engines are designed to run on more than one fuel. In Brazil, for instance, 70% of all new cars sold now are FFV.
Their sources of deriving ethanol are corn, sugarcane, soybeans, palm oil etc. Europe has also progressed remarkably in this connection by utilizing grain starch, sugar beets and rapeseeds etc. Further research and development has made it possible to use different kinds of wastes and herbs for bio fuel production.
It is really unfortunate that no significant work has been done in Pakistan in this field. There is abundant availability of cultivable area in the shape of barren and waste land in our country. Government should encourage to utilize this land for growing jatropha plant at a wider scale. We can extract non edible oil from this herb to produce bio-diesel. This can be used in vehicles by way of mixing upto 10% with diesel.
He said that it will certainly help to a great deal in bringing down the import of oil but also serve as an environment friendly source of energy.
Dr Shahid Raza stressed the need for highlighting the importance of bio-fuel at national level and also project this area as a profitable sector for national and foreign investors.
He said that it is high time that public and private sector must come up and join hands in order to utilize the untapped potential of bio-fuel and especially government of Punjab should take initiative to utilize barren and waste land for bio-fuel production.
For more information, contact:
Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI)
Lahore -54000, Pakistan
Tel: +9242 111 222 499
Fax: +92 42 636 8854