Fears over genetically modified foods allayed

Stakeholders at a Biotechnology workshop in Accra are allaying fears that the introduction of Genetically Modified Foods (GMFs) into the country’s food chain would endanger Ghanaians and impoverish farmers.

They argue GMFs are as safe as conventionally produced food, and rather hold the key to future food security.

Co-ordinator of the Programme for Bio-safety Systems, Daniel Osei Ofosu warns that the country faces food crisis in the years ahead if GMFs are rejected.

He says with the growing population and worsening environmental conditions due to climate change, the importance of GMFs to help produce enough food to feed the world cannot be over emphasized.

Mr. Osei Ofosu notes the growing of GMFs have the potential of reducing farmers’ spending on weeds and fertilizers, thereby, increasing their profits.

‘When you look at all these benefits, you would realize that farmers stand to earn more in adopting the technology, instead of rejecting it,’ he says.

He adds there is evidence to show GMFs pose no new health threat to consumers, when compared with consuming conventionally produced food.

The workshop was organized by the African Seed Trade Association in collaboration with the Ghana Association of Agricultural and Business Information Centre and NGO Crop Life Ghana.

Programmes Manager of Crop Life Ghana, Fredrick Boampong, called for more education to prepare Ghanaians for the introduction of GMFs.

Director of the Crop Research Institute of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, Rev. Dr. Hans Adu Dapaah noted the immediate need for the setting up of the National Bio-safety Authority to manage the introduction of GMFs into the country.

The Bio-safety act passed by Parliament in 2011 requires the setting up of the authority to take charge of processes of growing and importing GMFs.

Although field trials for GM crops are ongoing, the authority is yet to be set up.

Communication and Advocacy Officer of the African Seed Trade Association, Daniel Aghan called for enhanced alliance with the media to better educate Ghanaians on what exactly GMFs are.

Joy FM’s Joseph Opoku Gakpo who is one of those invited to address the workshop noted the need for balanced and unbiased media discussion on the issue of GMFs to allow for members of the public to make informed decisions on whether to accept or reject it.

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