Statement of Mr.Gurkan Polat Director of Agriculture & Industry Section

Statement of Mr.Gurkan Polat Director of Agriculture & Industry Section

ANNEX IV, Statement  by H.E. Mr. Gurkan Polat 

Director of Agriculture & Industry Section at

Economic Cooperation Organization in

the 2ndExpert Group Meeting of the

ECO Agricultural Biotechnology Network (ECO-ABN)

(Tehran, October 24, 2023)

 

Honorable Deputy Minister Dr. Mojtaba Khayam Nekouei,

Esteemed Director General of Agricultural Biotechnology Research Institute of Iran Prof. Mohsen Mardi,

Distinguished Delegates,

Ladies and Gentleman,

 

          It is a great pleasure for me to attend this 2ndExpert Group Meeting of the ECO Agricultural Biotechnology Network (ECO-ABN). I would like to thank Agricultural Biotechnology Research Institute of Iranfor hosting this important event and outstanding preparations. I am also thankful to the participants from Member States.

 

Excellencies,

 

          Agriculture plays a major role in economic growth and development. As theprovider of food, it is a cornerstone of human existence. Agriculture is a substantial source of rural income and employment. Nowadays, Global food insecurity has already been rising, due to climate shocks, loss of biodiversity, marine and coastal ecosystems, and the global water crisis, all were contributing to an increasingly food-insecure world. The COVID-19 pandemic and the recent conflicts further disrupted global supply chains and driving food prices upward.All these challenges show how vulnerable food systems are.

 

          In a world that produces considerable quantity of food to feed its entirepopulation, more than 1.5 billion people cannot afford a diet that meets the requiredlevels of essential nutrients, and over 3 billion people cannot even afford the cheapesthealthy diet. Global hunger has been rising in recent years. Furthermore, food inflationremains high in the world, with dozens of countries experiencing double digit inflation. The prevalence of undernourishment is also on the rise, following three years of deterioration.

 

Distinguished Delegates,

         

          Considering the abovementioned challenges, the usage of Biotechnology in agriculture is inevitable. The implications of biotechnology includes, breeding of plants for raising and stabilizing yields by improving their ability to confront various pests, insects and other possible threats, to fight various conditions like drought and counter diseases that could attack cold and soil acidity.It is also being applied for nutritional enhancement of various foods.

 

          We are also aware of the relation between environment and agriculture. The soil is not a bottomless pit. Over-fertilizing can end up in aquifers, polluting the waters used by humans. Moreover, soil fertility is reduced when increasing salt concentrations and unbalancing the nutrient balance. In response to the risk posed by these insensitive agricultural practices, organic farming emerged in 1960’s. This is based on the optimal use of natural resources, without the use of synthetic chemicals or genetically modified organisms.

          Thanks to biotechnology, great advances have been made in the agricultural sector in the world. From improved nutrient absorption with regards to the use of microorganisms with plant growth-promoting properties to pest control using plant and fungal extracts and ferments.In this regard, the ECO Secretariat in collaboration with the ECO Agricultural Biotechnology Network is aimed at seeking the assistance and support of the Member States, that have relevant expertise, for improving cooperation in the region in the field of agricultural biotechnology for benefits of ECO member states. I am confident that greater collaboration among ECO Secretariat and Member States in the field of nanotechnology will lead us to successfully secure our shared objective for sustainabledevelopment and ensuring food security in the region.

 

Thank you for your attention.