Whiles civil society groups kicks against the introduction of Genetically Modified Foods GMO in Ghana, the first two trials of GMO rice in Ghana have been successful. According to researchers at the Crops Research Institute (CRI) of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR). The first-ever GM crop to be planted in Ghana took off early 2013 on confined fields at Nobewam in the Ashanti region.
The research seeks to develop genetically improved African rice varieties by combining genes for three traits – nitrogen use efficiency, water use efficiency and salt tolerance in rice production, dubbed ‘NEWEST Rice’. The objective of the NEWEST Rice trials is to explore how farmers can maximize yields per bag of applied fertilizer to enhance Ghana’s food production.
Speaking to ultimate radio, the public relation for the crop research institute Jessie Bokye said even though GMO’s have not yet been accepted into the country but the research is done to determine its sustainability to be recommended for its approval. Although he couldn’t state the position of CSIR on GMO’s but said it’s the dream of every scientific research to seek a new variety in crops and the GMO offers that opportunity
“The next stage, according to our plan, is the second gene which will make the plant survive in times of little rain, so in years where we have drought problems the plant can still survive,” said the researcher.
At the end of the different trials, the triple stack genes will be put together into one plant. “That means I will have a plant that can survive when I don’t apply fertilizer, when there is less water and when the soil is acidic,” Mr. Boakye Added.
Meanwhile food sovereignty Ghana says the test contravenes the lay down conventions and process about what must be done before trails on the environment. Mr. Duke Tagoe, director of Food Sovereignty said there is a conflict of interest on the side of Ghanaian scientist to push the GMO through. He is therefore calling on the public to reject any attempt to push GMO through
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