General News of Tuesday, 31 January 2017
The Peasant Farmers Association of Ghana (PFAG) has expressed disappointment in the attempt by the Minister of Agriculture and some Vetting Committee members to misinform Ghanaians about the implication of the Plant Breeders Bill.
The Association said what even saddened it was that the Minister-designate managed to convince the Committee that Food Sovereignty Ghana, a Civil Society Organisation, did not actually know what they were about when they petitioned the Committee not to approve him.
A statement issued in Accra by Mr Abdul Rahman Mohammed, the National President of PFAG, said the Association would like to put on record that the campaign against the passing of the Plant Breeders Bill, in its current form, and the campaign against the introduction of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) were separate and distinct.
It said the campaign against the Bill began in 2013, and after a thorough analysis of the Bill, the Association identified serious negative implications on Ghanaian smallholder farmers should it become law.
“The Bill, in its current form, is inimical to Ghana’s agriculture development, it does not recognise the rights of indigenous seed growers, the rights of local farmers, the right to plant and replant seeds, the right to save seeds and the right to market and share seeds as follows,” it added.
The statement said the current Plant Breeders Bill was only protecting the interest of foreign merchants and corporations because it was only those merchants and corporations which could produce seeds that were new, distinct, uniform and stable as stated in clause three of the bill.
It said PFAG and the Food Sovereignty Platform were aware of the power and influence those multinational corporations had over governments and “we can only remind Parliament that they are representing the people of Ghana and, therefore, must put their people first even in the face of mounting pressure from powerful governments and multinationals seeking their own interests.”
The Association expressed the hope that the Speaker and the entire Parliament gets God’s guidance to take decisions in the interest of the people who voted for them to make decisions for the development of Ghana’s agriculture.