General News of Wednesday, 25 January 2017
Members of the Appointments Committee of Parliament on Tuesday, 24 January demonstrated a lack of understanding of the issues surrounding Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) during the vetting of Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, Minister-designate of Food and Agriculture, Evans Tawiah, General Secretary for Food Sovereignty Ghana (FSG), has said.
According to him, the comments and posture of some of the members of the committee during the vetting of Dr Owusu Akoto clearly pointed to a lack of knowledge of the dangers GM foods pose to the population, hence their failure to adequately grill the nominee on his clamour for GMOs in the country.
Dr Afriyie Akoto, during the vetting, said: “I don’t know why this GMO is coming into the Plant Breeders’ Bill. Honestly I am mystified by this whole hullabaloo about this thing.”
However, speaking in an interview with Accra News’ Naa Atswei Oduro on Wednesday January 25, Mr Tawiah said: “We are scared because we know the Minister-designate very well and his position on GMOs. We wrote a letter to parliament and the president about why we feel he does not deserve to be a Minister of Agriculture, hence should be replaced.
“We need someone who will ensure that the debate on GMOs is sustained for every Ghanaian to know the dangers associated with GMOs, but what happened at the committee’s sitting yesterday got us scared. We were astonished that men of that calibre showed a high level of ignorance when it came to the issues on GMOs. The Committee used Burkina Faso as an example to support GMOs, but as we speak the current state of GMOs in Burkina Faso is that the farmers there are running away from it. They have also sued Monsanto, the company that sold the GM seeds to them, and so all these show that our leaders are rather misleaders.
“If the people we have elected to lead us don’t know the current status of GMOs in other countries, then we must all be scared.”
He added: “The Plant Breeders’ Bill that we have doesn’t mention GMOs specifically, but in the end the bill will allow breeders abroad the leeway to introduce GMOs in Ghana. Parliament has disappointed Ghanaians because all the MPs have shown that their knowledge about GMOs is very low, they know nothing about it and it is painful that we have these people leading us.”