Some Muslim clergymen in the Greater Accra Region are urging the Muslim communities and the general public to support the adoption of genetically modified (GMO) technology to help improve farm productivity and ensure food security in our country.
“With respect to environment and economic factors, genetically modified organisms are considered an improvement and I would admonish us all to embrace it” said Alhaji Bashiru Kwaw with the Circuit Mission of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Mission, Achimota.
From a health perspective, GM foods are no different than non-GM foods, I learnt. In fact, GM foods could even be considered healthier because of the rigorous approval processes they go through before being allowed onto the market.
Alhaji Bashiru indicated that the sensitization programme opened his eyes to the fact that adoption of GMOs in Ghana will have a positive impact on the economy, allow farmers to grow more crops without the need for extra land and help drive down the food prices for the benefit of consumers.
“Owing to the misconception about the adoption of the GMO technology, we believe that the training would enable us to significantly educate our community members as well as our children across the country on issues of agriculture through the provision of expert knowledge and facts,” he said.
Open Forum on Agriculture Biotechnology (OFAB) Ghana, in collaboration with the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), organized a day’s sensitization programme on Biotechnology and Genetically Modified Foods (GMOs) for the clergymen.
It was aimed, among others, at equipping the Muslim clergymen with the requisite knowledge and understanding of biotechnology in farming and agriculture to help effectively educate the general public to adopt the technology to ensure sustainable national food security and improved livelihoods of farmers.
It brought together some high-profile Muslim personalities and researchers from the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and Savanna Agricultural Research Institute (SARI), Biotechnology and Nuclear Agriculture Research Institute of the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission (BNARI-GAEC) and officials from National Biosafety Authority.
A former Deputy Minister of Food and Agriculture, Dr. Ahmed Alhassan Yakubu, mentioned to the clergymen that this new innovation is based on scientific facts and it’s aimed at helping feed the nation and also help brand Agriculture attractive to our farmers.
He said challenges like climate change and population rise are increasing food insecurity in Africa, heightening the urgent need for technological innovations to stem that trend.
“Disrupted rainfall patterns, drought, extreme weather events, pest infestations, plant diseases, crop losses, and hunger are also negatively impacting our Agriculture sector.
“Science serves mankind well, but some people have their own minds on whether to stick to science all the time or not, that is why we are all here to learn more from our experts and researchers,” he added.