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14.07.2004 Business & Finance

Scientists and businessmen must collaborate- Ashitey

By GNA

Accra, July 14, GNA - The Minister of State in Charge of Trade, Industry and President's Special Initiative, Mr Ishmael Ashitey on Wednesday called on scientists to collaborate with entrepreneurs to ensure the development of biotechnology in Ghana.

Mr Ashitey said the time was due for scientists and businessmen to begin serious dialogue on how to ensure the full benefits of scientific discoveries in society now that the country was at the verge of adopting a regulatory framework for development.

"If science is kept in laboratories then it is of no value to the man in the streets", he said.

Mr Ashitey made the call at a national stakeholders workshop organised by the Government in collaboration with United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Global Environment Facility (GEF) to discuss the final component of the National Bio-safety Framework. He said development in biotechnology in Ghana could promote global partnerships between Ghana and countries that were advanced and rich in genetic resources.

The Minister of Food and Agriculture, Major Courage Quashigah (rtd) acknowledged with some regret that despite the various scientific discoveries globally, the world was still suffering from severe hunger, adding that statistics indicated about 65 per cent of the women population at childbearing age in Africa were anaemic.

He, therefore, saw biotechnology as an important scientific discovery to fight hunger in developing countries.

Major Quashigah said conventional breeding produced vast number of variety and hybrids that had contributed to higher grain yield, stability of harvest and farm income in developing countries. He said to ensure the effectiveness of bio-safety there was the need for scientific knowledge and infrastructure.

He challenged policymakers and scientists to develop policies that would allow safe and environmentally sound application of biotechnology. Dr E. Baffoe-Bonnie, Chairman of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Environment and Science, said the workshop aimed at assisting Ghana to develop her bio-safety framework and also build her capacity in developing mechanisms for legislative, administrative risk and information managements for environmentally sound biotechnology.

Mr Alex Owusu, National Project Coordinator, in an interview with the first phase of an 18- month implementation programme of biotechnology. When asked of the side effect of biotechnology, he said, although none of the countries that adopted the technology had reported of any side effect it was perceived that it could result in toxicity in food that could make consumers to develop allergy. 14 July 04

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