General News of Wednesday, 25 January 2017
Food Sovereignty Ghana (FSG), a civil society organization that had raised issues with the passage of the controversial Plant Breeders Bill, has explained that it was only against portions of the Bill, and not the entirety of it.
The Plant Breeders Bill, which was brought to Parliament for approval, triggered a massive debate in the country in 2014, with some groups including the Food Sovereignty Ghana insisting that it will undermine and damage traditional farming practices.
They also argued that approving the Bill will unnecessarily threaten public health, water resources, air and the natural environment. Meanwhile, speaking on the Citi Breakfast Show on Wednesday, Communications Director of FSG, Edwin Kweku Andoh Baffour, clarified that they are instead against the Bill in its current form. “We are not against hybrid, we are not against science, but we are against the genetic manipulation of organisms –when we take genes from one organism and artificially incorporate them into the gene of another.
We have never said the Plant Breeders Bill is about GMO. What we have said is that, the Plant Breeders Bill is going to open the way for multinational seed companies to monopolize our seeds. We are not against the Plant Breeders Bill, we are against the Plant Breeders Bill in its current form and we have clearly stated where we have a problem,” Mr. Baffour noted. Mr. Baffour made the comment on the back of a petition his group sent to Parliament’s Appointment Committee to compel the House to reject Agric Minister nominee, Dr. Owusu Afriyie-Akoto, who they claim supports the introduction of Genetically Modified Foods in Ghana.
Their petition was however rubbished by the nominee, as the chairman of the committee, Joe Osei-Owusu, revealed that FSG had earlier apologized to Parliament for their public claims about the Plant Breeders Bill.
But Mr. Baffour rejected the claim saying, such incident never occurred. Mr. Baffour told Bernard Avle on the Citi Breakfast Show that “…that was the first time I had heard of this, I don’t recall any need for an apology from Food Sovereignty so I was quite surprised when I heard the chairman of the committee stating that Food Sovereignty Ghana had apologized for something.” “I’m not sure what exactly we had to apologize for,” he added.