Assertions that Genetically Modified seeds are high-yielding, pest resistant and, therefore, present the best opportunity for farmers to lift themselves out of poverty have been questioned.
Mr. Charles Nyaaba, Programmes officer of the Peasant Farmers Association of Ghana (PFAG), says on the contrary, GMseeds will rather lead especially rural farmers to their early graves.
Mr Nyaaba said Ghana’s farmers are comfortable with their conventional seeds and have the capacity to produce enough for domestic consumption and for export provided the bottlenecks in the agriculture sector are removed.
He was speaking at Asutuare in the Greater Accra Region shortly after a demonstration against MONSANTO, the largest GM seed company based in the United States.
The demonstration was attended by small-scale farmers, members of the Centre for Indigenous Knowledge and Organizational Development and Agricultural Sovereignty, Ghana, with Support from KASA – a Civil Society Platform affiliate to Care Ghana for engagement in natural resources and environment.
The demonstration was under the theme “ The Seed Belongs To us Not Monsanto”.
“The march against MONSANTO is to guard the sovereignty of smallholder farmers in Africa over their right to save seed, sell and exchange amongst themselves. It is a march to protect the dignity and the sovereignty of Africa; it is a march to protect our indigenous resources; it is a march against greed; it is a march for good health and vitality and a march against neo-colonialism,” Nyaaba said.
“The objective of MONSANTO, the largest GM seed company based in United States of America is to monopolize the seed market in the world and make the highest profits it can, with no concern for the adverse effects on livelihood of farmers,” he added.
Citing the South African experience, Mr Nyaaba said in 2008 and 2009, 80% of Monsanto’s Genetically Modified maize failed to yield.
The farmers also expressed concerns about the GM crops which were inferior in quality to traditional maize, made people and animals who consumed it sick and made the soil useless after a few years due to the chemicals farmers are required to use on their crops.
He was even more worried that the activities of Mosanto appear to have the full backing and support of officialdom.
According to him, there were subtle attempts to have the demonstration scuttled, citing the powers of Mosanto to influence actions and decisions of the powers that be.
Mr Nyaaba called on all to fight against the introduction of GM seed, adding an introduction of such seeds would spell doom for the country.
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