The Centre for Climate Change and Food Security is scandalised about reports that a secret memo under the sponsorship of the Hon Minister for Environment and Science, Prof Frimpong Boateng, has been sent to parliament for consideration of GMOs in Ghana.
While we note that the unfortunate passage of the Biosafety Act, Act 831 of parliament was a surreptitious attempt to introduce GMOs into our agriculture line, this latest addition is puzzling. We are at sea as to why with all the controversies around GMOs globally, the government of Ghana would ignore the signs on the wall and seek to use subterfuge to get GMOs legalised under indecent haste.
The debate on GMOs and its attendant effects, continue to unfold within the realms of science. It's therefore only prudent to adopt a wait-and-see approach at minimum until these controversies are settled. Europe with all the scientific sophistry at its disposal has virtually rejected GMOs. The inability of the GMO lobbyists to find favour within the European market is undoubtedly pushing them to use unconventional scientific approaches of introducing a technology - to foist the rather unpredictable technology on weak countries like Ghana.
Per the Centre's understanding of Ghana's agriculture and food production system, we don't see where GMOs can fit in. GMOs can't solve a single of the myriad of problems facing Ghana's agriculture. We urge the government to fully explore Ghana's agricultural potentials and tap into the virgin areas in our agriculture system before contemplating GMOs.
It's fictitious for anybody to larch to the paradox of 'feeding a growing population', to promote GMOs. It must be noted that access to food is hampered by the imbalances in our food distribution chain. This therefore means that production of sufficient food quantities has never been a problem: the world over. Indeed official statistics show that almost of 40% of food produced globally go waste due to high prices, overconsumption, standardisation, etc.
Agriculture sustainability is what we need to confront the challenges of food production going into the future. Many of the overhyped attributes associated to GMOs including resistance, longer shelf life, bumper harvest, etc have proven to be false. Predictable agriculture practices such as those in line with organic agriculture is what Ghana ought to pay attention to in order to harness the ever-growing organic market and to achieve sustainable agriculture production.
Giving GMOs a try is simply handing over the future of food production to a few powerful corporates who would then control food production, determine the economic fortunes of our farmers, and dictate what the world must eat. This cannot be allowed to happen.
CCCFS cautions government to hasten slowly. Government must not pander to the pressures of these money-grubbing corporates to jeopardise the future of Ghana's food. The Minister must know that the exercise of his power should be in the interest of the people of Ghana from whom his powers are derived. Parliament must do the needful to reject this memo!
Director of Research
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