Report By: Ishmael Barfi
The President of the Republic of Ghana has been called upon not to include Genetically Modified Organism (GMO) in his agriculture agenda for the country.
The call was made by the Communications Director of Food Sovereignty Ghana, (FSG) a civil society group at a media briefing dubbed, “Solidarity with March Against Monsanto Accra,” Communications.
Mr. Edwin Kweku Andoh Baffour who stated stated his position on the matter explained that, “It is extremely worrying that Ghana is losing sight of a clear opportunity that has presented itself for us which is the growing of organic produce market around the world, adding that “We enjoy a comparative advantage to exploit this market which is valued globally at $97 billion as of 2017”.
Therefore indicated that, the FSG will continue to call on President, His Excellency Nana Akufo-Addo and his government to reconsider Ghana’s agricultural agenda where Genetically Modified Organism (GMO) seems to be on its agenda.
According to the FSG, “it is critical to keep reminding key stakeholders of the dangers of doing business with Bayer Monsanto’s products embedded in our plans given the current legal precedence that is being set in the US where courts of competent jurisdiction have found Monsanto liable for the damages caused by its flagship product “Round-Up” with its toxic and carcinogenic ingredient Glyphosate.”
To that effect, FSG has for the past six years been advocating against the introduction of GMOs in Ghana’s agriculture and moved to the law courts in 2015 at the first announcement of plans to commercially release Genetically Modified cowpeas and rice onto the Ghanaian market.
Adding that, it position on the matter has not changed due to the amount of overwhelming evidence in independent research that clearly points to negative impacts on health and the environment of GMO despite the attempts to legitimize it by a strong and well-funded lobby”.
To him, this puts into true context the efforts of organisations like the Alliance For Science as well as the Open Forum for Agricultural Biotechnology (OFAB) who despite all these real facts are desperately trying to deceive Ghanaians that GMO would be of great benefit to them as nation.
Though Ghana’s agriculture is challenged by lack of road networks from farm gate to market, lack of credit facilities to farmers, lack of irrigation interventions and little post-harvest infrastructures to preserve the abundant harvests our farmers get, the introduction of GMO’s will not address any of these critical concerns, the group noted.
Therefore the group calls on government to reconsider the UPOV-compliant Plant Breeders’ Bill, (PBB) which was introduced to parliament in 2016 for consideration and approval.
“Over the years given we have through several press releases maintained that the bill in its current form is too rigid, unsuitable, and illegitimate, indicating that, there are still forces ignoring our call for a “sui generis’ plant protection system as required by the World Trade Organisation (WTO) to protect the intellectual property of plant breeders,” the group said.
Adding that, given the fact that we live in the age of information, there is no excuse for a whole nation not to be well informed of such a policy, given the overwhelming evidence especially produced by independent researchers.
The Food Sovereignty Ghana, (FSG) confidently believe that, given the past human rights record of President Nana Akufo Addo, there is still hope where the welfare of Ghanaians is paramount to the development and growth of the country.