Ghanaian agricultural scientists and researchers have been meeting in Kumasi to harmonize procedures and regulations in the registration and dissemination of genetic materials, pesticides and other crop protection products.

The intellectual property rights exercise is to ease cross-border transfer and adoption of improved technologies under the West African Agricultural Productivity Programme (WAAPP).

Component one of the 10-year programme focuses on creating enabling conditions for Regional Cooperation in technology generation and dissemination.

Ghana’s priority crops are basically roots and tubers which include cassava, yam, cocoyam and sweet potato.

Dr. Joe Manu-Aduenning, WAAPP Coordinator at the Crops Research Institute (CRI) of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), says the document validation is to ensure the exchange and adoption of genetic materials suits the Ghanaian condition.

Genetic materials essentially refer to planting materials and seeds plant cuttings including maize, cowpea and cassava varieties developed by research scientists.

Dr. Manu-Aduenning said the project will remove duplication of research activities and protect intellectual property rights of scientists.

“We have developed several varieties and one of Obaatanpa [maize variety]. Now Obaatanpa is grown all over Africa and beyond. The problem here is because we have not registered in Ghana, people take Obaatanpa in Ghana, take it to say Mali and then give it a different name, so it loses its originality.

“We’re doing this so that if you develop say a plant variety in Ghana, you can easily send it to Togo or Nigeria or Mali or Senegal for use by that country. So farmers there can also pick from here or we can also pick from there, test it here if it suits our conditions and our needs, then we can use it”, he said.

The National Variety Release Committee hopes the validated document will be incorporated into the harmonized ECOWAS protocol for registration and exchange of genetic material across the sub-region.

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