Civil Society Group Food Sovereignty Ghana (FSG) is calling on President Akufo-Addo to ensure GMOs are not included in Ghana’s Agric agenda.
At a media briefing dubbed, “Solidarity with March Against Monsanto Accra,” Communications Director of FSG Edwin Kweku Andoh Baffour stated his position on the matter.
“It is extremely worrying that Ghana is losing sight of a clear opportunity that has presented itself for us which is the growing of organic produce market around the world. We enjoy a comparative advantage to exploit this market which is valued globally at $97 billion as of 2017,” he said.
He added, “We continue our call on President Nana Akufo-Addo and his government to reconsider Ghana’s agricultural agenda where genetically modified organism (GMO) seems to be in the plans.”
FSG says “it is critical to keep reminding key stakeholders of the dangers of doing business with Bayer Monsanto’s products embedded in our plans given the current legal precedence that is being set in the US where courts of competent jurisdiction have found Monsanto liable for the damages caused by its flagship product “Round-Up” with its toxic and carcinogenic ingredient Glyphosate.”
FSG has for the past six years been advocating against the introduction of GMOs in Ghana’s agriculture and moved to the law courts in 2015 at the first announcement of plans to commercially release genetically modified cowpeas and rice on the Ghanaian market.
“This position has not changed due to the amount of overwhelming evidence in independent research that clearly points to negative impacts on health and the environment of GMO despite the attempts to legitimize it by a strong and well-funded lobby,” the statement said.
“This puts into true context the efforts of organisations like the Alliance For Science as well as the Open Forum for Agricultural Biotechnology (OFAB) who despite all these real facts are desperately trying to deceive Ghanaians that GMO would be of great benefit to Ghana,” Mr Andoh said.
“The truth is Ghana’s agriculture is challenged by a lack of road infrastructure from farm gate to market, a lack of credit to farmers, lack of irrigation interventions and little post-harvest infrastructure to preserve the abundant harvests our farmers get. The introduction of GMO’s will not address any of these critical concerns,” the group said.
The group also called on government to reconsider the UPOV-compliant Plant Breeders' Bill, (PBB) which was before 2016 introduced in parliament for approval.
“Over the years given we have through several press releases maintained that the bill in its current form is too rigid, unsuitable, and illegitimate and there are still forces ignoring our call for a "sui generis' plant protection system as required by the World Trade Organisation (WTO) to protect the intellectual property of plant breeders,” the group said.
FSG says Ghana is at a crossroad and must make some very sound and well-informed decisions.
“Given the fact that we live in the age of information, there is no excuse for a whole nation not be well informed from a policy, making perspective given the overwhelming evidence especially produced by independent researchers.
We are confident that given the past human rights record of President Nana Akufo Addo, there is still hope where the welfare of Ghanaians is concerned,” the statement added.