GMO debate settled with official government position stated

Business News of Friday, 17 January 2020

Source: Business & Financial Times

2020-01-17

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The Peasant Farmers Association of Ghana (PFAG), in a release issued yesterday, stated that efforts to impose Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) on Ghanaian consumers and farmers came to an end on January, 14 this year (2020).

This is because government, through the Minister of Food and Agriculture – Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto, announced that the country has capable scientists who can use traditional breeding methods to produce high-yielding seed varieties and disease-resistant plant for cultivation by farmers; consequently, there is no need for GMOs in the next 100 years in Ghana.

The Ghana seed sector is plagued with numerous constraints ranging from poor resources for research institutions such as the Savannah Agricultural Research Institute (SARI) and academic institutions of learning to provide foundation seeds; limited irrigation facilities; poor transportation; storage facilities and difficulty accessing credit to support seed production and distribution.

The Peasant Farmers Association (PFAG), General Agricultural Workers Union (GAWU), Food Sovereignty Ghana (FSG) and centre for Indigenous Knowledge & Organisational Development (CIKOD) have been championing the anti-GMO campaign for years, and therefore welcome government’s position – consequently calling on all institutions, individuals and multi-national corporations who are benefiting from proceeds of MONSANTO to promote GMO in Ghana to rather join Ghanaian scientists and farmers in promoting the local seed industry. GMOs (genetically modified organisms) are living organisms whose genetic material has been artificially manipulated in a laboratory through genetic engineering, or GE.

Combining or splicing together genes from different organisms in the lab is known as recombinant DNA technology, and the resulting organism is said to be “genetically modified”, “genetically engineered”, or “transgenic.” With sophisticated laboratories, DNA can be manipulated and combined with species that could never, ever breed in nature—-like fish and tomatoes, Brazil nuts and soybean, or bacteria and corn. This relatively new science creates unstable combination of plant, animal, bacterial and viral genes which do not occur in nature or through traditional crossbreeding methods.

One of the general difference between GMOs and natural organic crops is that GMO plants are able to resist dying when sprayed excessively with powerful pesticides and herbicides. And this should be the first hint that something is wrong – because when a plant does not die when sprayed with excessive chemicals it means those chemicals are ingested by humans who believe the plant is safe.

The WHO has classified several GMO pesticides as possibly / probably carcinogenic to human being, because they cause cancer in lab rats.

On Wall Street and in the business world, Smart money follows and invests where visionary leaders like Jeff Bezos invest. With the purchase of Whole Foods, Bezos has signaled that natural and organic foods are important commercial priority, because western consumers are now demanding healthy safe products.

Why would Ghana and African nations now embrace tired GMO agro-policy rejected by Western consumers, while the world’s richest person, Jeff Bezos, is fully invested in the distribution of organic food and natural products? If Africans do not receive adequate treatment for a common ailment such as breast cancer – routinely treated and cured in the west, how then could Africans possibly receive treatment for the complex intestinal, blood, and neurological cancers and disorders associated with continuous GMO consumption? These are serious questions which go way beyond commercial and sovereignty considerations – though they are certainly of vast national importance – because they deal with the physical health of our people and of our environment.

It has now been established that there is an ever-growing lists of ailments and disorders which are directly attributable to consuming GMO products, including Autism, many allergies, and deformed babies. The environment has also been badly affected with the contamination of staple food crops such as corn by GMOs, and the loss of many beneficial micro-organisms and pollinators – most frighteningly the word-wide plunge in the bee-population, which has dire implications for humanity’s food supply.

Indeed, this issue is so important to our well-being that this Paper is of the strong view that Ghana should emphasis this position, as the host country for the AfCFTA Secretariat, to push for a GMO-free Africa.

That way, our reputation for true leadership in advocating the African cause and Black people’s welfare would be enhanced with genuine credibility .Let’s free Africa…from GMOs.