Association calls for rejection of Plant Breeders Bill
A statement signed by Mr Benjamin Panlogo-Logodam, PUSAG President, said it was cautioning the good people of Ghana to reject any attempt to adopt Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) foods which would be propagated in the unlikelihood event of parliament approving the bill.
'The parliament of Ghana had since the year 2011 passed the Bio-Safety Act 831. This Act is to ensure the establishment of a National Bio-Safety Authority - an administrative body that will oversee to the administration of genetically modified organisms resulting from biotechnology, which includes GM foods in this country,' it said.
The statement said the Plant Breeders Bill was yet to be passed by parliament and its passage would allow the importation and exportation of genetically engineered or genetically modified seeds.
'Hitherto, Ghana is not producing genetically modified seeds. However, these plant variety GM seeds are licensed properties of multinational chemical and food companies such as Monsanto, Bayer Cropscience, Dow Agroscience etc,' it said.
The statement said the passage of the bill was a detrimental to national development and it would finally surrender the economy in the hands of these multinational companies.
It said Agriculture was the backbone of Ghana's economic development 'Section 23 of the bill states that, a plant breeder's right shall be independent of any measure taken by the Republic within Ghana the production, certification and marketing of a variety or the importation or exportation of the material'.
It added 'this implies that the government of Ghana does not have any right to regulate the activity of companies' in charge in the importation of GM seeds. Assenting to the plant breeders' bill is closely associated with the Bond of 1844, paving up for neo-colonialism.'
The statement noted that numerous countries all over the world are resisting GMO foods and the very recent, South Sudan, adding 'So what is causing the government of Ghana to agree to jeopardize the fortunes of this country by approving the plant breeder's bill to adopt GMO foods'
It said GM seeds were contract barring seeds and this meant that farmers cannot replant from the same seeds they had used but would have to continue to buy from the seed companies, 'this by far would cause more hardship to our farmers and also cause the devaluation of our cedi.'
It said healthwise, GMO foods had been associated with the cause of strange diseases, birth defects and cancers of all kinds in countries that are consuming GM foods.
The statement said the Ministry of Health, Ghana Health Service, the Catholic Bishop Conference, the Food Sovereignty Ghana and the Convention Peoples' Party had called on the government to reject the plant breeders' bill and GM foods.
'PUSAG in the spirit of solidarity and partners in national development is joining them to cause government to heed to these calls. Generally, what we need is an agricultural ministry which supports farmers through training, loans, supervision, education, equipment construction of more motorable roads to our farming communities,' it said.