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28.07.2005 General News

Workshop on organisms opens


Accra, July 28, GNA - A workshop on Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) on Thursday opened in Accra to discuss and debate the benefits and risks in applying the GMOs in various key sectors of Ghana's economy.

Genetically Modified Organisms are genetic engineering tools for producing new varieties and new products in agriculture, health and industry.

The Science and Technology Policy Research Institute (STEPRI) of the Centre for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) is hosting the workshop being attended by stakeholders who would exchange ideas and provide inputs to policy formulation on the application of GMOs in Ghana.

Participants would also address issues of Ghana's effort to take full advantage of genetic engineering, issues of risk management, capacity building and investment.

Professor Emmanuel Owusu Bennoah, Director General, CSIR, said despite the risks involved with any scientific technology, Ghana could take advantage of the GMOs in her agriculture productions to enable her to become food sufficient.

"Since we are in the era of science and technology, Ghana should take part in the Green Revolution or stand the risk of being left behind", Prof Bennoah indicated.

In a speech read for Ms Christine Churcher, Minister of Environment and Science, she said discussing genetic engineering and its products was welcoming because it had generated much controversy and yet had enormous potential to address Ghana's national economic challenges. Ms Churcher said food production and distribution, which had become the biggest challenge facing developing countries like Ghana, could, therefore, be addressed with the adoption of genetic engineering to ensure food security.

She urged the participants to come out with strategies that would consider the farmers in the villages, the micro and small-scale industrialists, the traders in the markets and ordinary citizens in harnessing biotechnology for national development. Dr Joseph Gogo, Director of STEPRI, said several follow-up actions some of which involved training programmes to build capacity of stakeholders would be organised to enable Ghanaians to make informed choices over the application of GMOs.