Agric minister designate's stance on GMOs spurs Food Sovereignty opposition

Food Sovereignty Ghana (FSG) says it is strongly opposed to the nomination of Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto as minister-designate for Food and Agriculture due is his stance on Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs).

The group has, therefore, called on President Nana  Akufo-Addo to drop his name for the slot, and on Parliament not to approve his nomination.

“Dr Afriyie Akoto has already demonstrated profound ignorance on the subject of GMOs and a shocking indifference to the lives and wellbeing of Ghanaians,” said FSG, which describes itself as a movement dedicated to food sovereignty.

Although FSG has once stated its opposition to Dr Akoto’s ministerial nomination before, it has based its recent concerns on comments made by the minister-designate on a current affairs television programme on TV3:

 “Ghana imports 150,000 metric tons of poultry products every year and most of that are coming from America, Brazil and Europe. Where do you think those chickens are fed from? They are fed from genetically modified grains. So, we are eating genetically modified food. Has anybody died? Genetically modified food is eaten in America and Ghana and everywhere through feeding grains to chickens and [other poultry produce] and we [Ghanaians] are eating it [as well]. Are we all dead? All the Americans would be dead by now.”

Watch Dr Akoto make the comment in the video link below:

FSG says Dr Akoto neglects to mention that Americans are trying to pull away from GMOs.

“Evidence begins to emerge that a multitude of health problems, including cancer clusters in the US, may be linked to GMOs and their toxic chemicals,” says FSG.

FSG adds that the basic premise which informs its principled position against GMOs since 2013 is that there is still no consensus among the scientific community on the safety GMO’s.

“Does Dr. Afriyie Akoto think the only danger to our health is posed from something that kills you immediately when you touch or taste it? Evidence of the serious dangers of GMOs have been emerging with increasing frequency and urgency. Dr Afriyie Akoto appears to have missed them completely,” says FSG in a release Wednesday, January 18, 2017.

Read the rest of FSG’s release, signed by Communications Director, Edwin Kweku Andoh Baffour below.

“Dr Afriyie Akoto is ignoring the fact that most of the world is recoiling from GMOs, including the country of their origin, the United States. The long-term damage to human health, the death of the soil, the reduced productivity, the contamination of water and air, the evolution of super pests and the powerful chemical cocktails that are part of all commercial GMOs have caused people to turn away from GMOs.

“Countries using GMOs have also seen the extinction of many varieties of seed and the dwindling diversity of available seeds just when we need added diversity and flexibility to protect us from climate change. What message is the President trying to send to Ghanaians by this nomination?

“Keep in mind the reason GMOs were developed was not to assist farmers or to strengthen agriculture but to create seed monopolies. They are designed ultimately to claim ownership of all the seeds used in Ghana and extract the wealth of Ghana’s agriculture for wealthy foreign corporate profits. Currently for every $1 the west brings to Africa, $24 leaves Africa for the West. Does Ghana want to continue these subsidies for the EU and the United States?

“The scientists who refer to GMOs as safe are almost entirely those subsidised or co-opted by the corporate chemical seed giants who finance whole university departments and scientific publications. GMO corporate shills staff the upper levels of the US Department of Agriculture as well as the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA). Where there is true and independent research into GMOs it is raising more and more alarms.

“News just coming in today indicates that Burkina Faso cotton production has increased after it discontinued Monsanto’s Bt cotton variety…/article_7902cb48-3b14-5936-9840-7… At a time where GMOs have woefully failed in neighbouring Burkina Faso, it would be unconscionable for Ghana to have a GMO minister responsible for our agriculture!”

“Dr Afriyie Akoto seems to have fallen hard for the corporate lobby representing GMOs. They nod and smile and say they represent “Science”. They represent their version of ‘science’ as if it were fixed and immutable doctrine, the opposite of science. They spread lies and money liberally. There are signs that they are working very hard to recruit all Ghana’s political parties, our academics, and the media to fall for their long con. Dr. Afriyie Akoto appears a willing and eager victim. That makes him wildly unsuited to be Ghana’s Minister of Agriculture.

“A wide coalition of stakeholders has already expressed concern about the introduction of GMO into our food system. These include the Christian Council of Ghana, The Catholic Bishops Conference, The Ghana Muslim Mission, The Office of The Chief Imam, The Peasant Farmers Association, the Vegetarian Association of Ghana, the General Agricultural Workers Union (GAWU) of the Trade Union Congress, The Convention People’s Party and the Rastafari Council and Food Span among others. Surely this constitutes a significant collection of key stakeholders in this nation who will disagree with Ghana continuing down the path we seem to be heading regarding adopting GMOs in our agriculture. It is hoped that President Akufo-Addo will give a listening ear to the concerns of the Ghanaians who voted overwhelmingly for change.