Dr. Hans Adu-Dapaah
The Center for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) on Tuesday in Accra declared that Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) foods were not harmful for consumption.
According to the Center, the DNA introduced into GMOs is not different from other DNAs introduced into plants.
To this end, CSIR urged policy-makers and other key stakeholders to consider GM foods to boost food security and production in the country.
Dr. Hans Adu-Dapaah from the Crops Research Institute, CSIR made this known at a symposium organized by the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences (GAAS) under the theme, ‘What GMO’s can do for mankind: Argument in Favor and Argument against.’
He said instead of ‘saying we should abolish GMO we should rather work to ensure that the regulatory mechanism works to ensure checks and balances.’
According to him, Ghana’s current population was projected to reach 51.17 million by 2050.
With the projected increase in population, he said relying solely on the conventional method of farming would not meet the demand for food in the country.
Dr. Adu-Dapaah said, ‘If that is the case, then it means we wouldn’t be required to do things the conventional way.’
He called for a change in attitude of operators in the agricultural sector.
This, he said, was because conventional farming took relatively long period of time, adding that slow pace of food production was not desirable considering the persistent increase in population and demand for food.
He observed that ‘time saved by planting GM crops could be used to cultivate other food crops to contribute to the nutritional needs of the rapidly growing population,’ adding that using biotech crops reduce production cost.
Assuring players within the conventional farming industry that the introduction of GM crops would not collapse their businesses, he said, ‘GM crops are going to complement the conventional approach.’
Meanwhile, one of the key stakeholders, Food Sovereignty Ghana and other human rights activists, argued that GM foods were not safe for consumption.
According to Food Sovereignty represented by Yaw Opoku, a lawyer, there were several global reports on the harmful effects of GM crops and urged the government not allow the introduction of GMO foods into the country.
According to Mr. Opoku, ‘Scientists were pushing for the adoption of GM crops for their own selfish gains.’
He therefore called for a legislation to protect Ghanaians against GM foods in the country.
Supporters of GM crops have long argued that they deliver higher yields and are resistance to pests, requiring less fertilizers and pesticides during production.
However, its opponents continue to demand for more scientific data to substantiate this claim, arguing that their long-term genetic impact on humans and wildlife could be harmful.
The government of Ghana has not passed any law to legalize the production of Genetically Modified Crops in the country.
GM Crops production in the country is still at a confinement stage.
Six European Union countries including Austria, Luxumberg, Germany and France, according to a BBC report in 2011, banned the production of GM crops on safety grounds.
BY Melvin Tarlue
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