Crops produced using Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) technology are safer than conventionally produced ones, a Research Scientist at the Crop Research Institute of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has said.
Charles Afriyie Debrah said GMOs go through very rigorous tests and processes over many years before they are released onto the market which does not happen with crops produced using conventional technologies.
“GMO is safer, it is cheaper, it is a better technology, it ensures less waste, uses less energy, is more environmentally friend, and more sustainable,” the Biosafety Officer at Institute noted.
He said this at a training programme on the basics of biotechnology for members of the Ghana Agricultural and Rural Development Journalists (GARDJA) in the Ashanti Region organized by Alliance for Science Ghana.
“There is no evidence GMOs have been responsible for diseases anywhere….this has been done for many years and there is no evidence to back that claim,” Mr Afriyie Debrah noted.
Parliament in 2011 passed the Biosafety Act to allow for the production and commercialization of GMOs in the country. The CSIR is currently undertaking field trials for GMO rice and cowpea which is expected on the market soon.
Mr Afriyie-Debrah said GMO technology is one of the several available options to help improve agricultural production and farmers deserve the opportunity to apply it to food production.
“This technology is an alternative… at the Crop Research Institute, we are doing research on GMOs but we are not letting go of the conventional,” he noted.
Member of Alliance for Science (AfS) Ghana, Abednego Opey Brandy, explained to the journalists that the Alliance is a network of farmers, scientists, communications persons, students and other well-meaning Ghanaians working to ensure improved food and environmental security in the country.
He was confident the training will go a long way to enhance journalists understanding of the technology as one of the sure paths to ensure Africa’s food security.
President of GARDJA Richmond Frimpong noted such training programmes are important to help journalists get a broader understanding of technologies driving agriculture.