Business News of Wednesday, 4 February 2015
The Former Director General of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research Ghana (CSIR), Prof. Walter Sandow Alhassan has urged farmers to reject claims against Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) seeds by anti-GMO groups that it is harmful and accepting it would amount to “seed colonisation and seed slavery”.
According to him, those groups do not have any scientific proof or knowledge to offer when it comes to Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) technology therefore should be abhorred.
GMOs have generated huge controversy in Ghana since 2013 after the Ghanaian government announced its introduction into the country that same year.
Several activists groups including Food Sovereignty Ghana, the Coalition for Farmers Rights and other individuals have kicked against it describing it as harmful and a threat to human life.
The anti-GMO groups have been encouraging Ghanaians to stand up against its introduction into the country’s food chain, claiming that accepting it will amount to “seed colonisation and seed slavery”.
But addressing a group of farmers at a sensitization workshop on the topic “GMOs the truth and misconceptions” at the Bronkyempem Hall, Techiman in the Brong Ahafo Region, Prof. Walter Sandow Alhassan advised farmers to avoid being misled by the so-called anti-GMO groups.
”We should get away from this misinformation and try to see how we can revolutionize our Agriculture and move with modern trends,” he emphasised.
He told them to be in close touch with institutions who know about the advance technologies in Agriculture, referring to the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA) and the universities as institutions grounded in advance knowledge in GM technology.
”My advice to you is that you should get proper explanation on the modern technology and be able to determine whether or not that particular technology you are growing is good for you. Feel free to talk to the CSIR, and then MOFA and if you are not successful in getting answers, go ahead and crosscheck with the CSIR again and then move on to the Universities, they have the knowledge and will be able to assist you,” he suggested.
The former CSIR boss urged Government to be steadfast in supporting Ghanaian scientists towards their research work by creating an enabling environment or framework for them; equipping them with more research facilities, infrastructures and training to augment research work into the field of Biotechnology.
The workshop was organized by the Ghana Chapter of the Open Forum on Agricultural Biotechnology in Africa (OFAB) in collaboration with the African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF) and the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), Ghana.
In attendance were farmers, scientists, journalists, agriculture extension officers from the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, traditional rulers, policy makers, the OFAB staff members and other stakeholders in the Agricultural Industry.
OFAB – Ghana is a platform that brings together all stakeholders in biotechnology to interact and discuss biotechnology in order to bring awareness of the technology and provide correct information to all stakeholders.