As part of measures to bring clarity on Genetically Modified (GM) technology activities in Ghana and status of work done on a GM product (PBR COMPEA) within CSIR in Ghana,a day’s workshop has been held for Editors in the Ashanti Region.
The workshop held at Golden Tulip hotel in Kumasi was organized by Open Forum on Agricultural Biotechnology (OFAB) in collaboration with Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (Ghana).
The two main scientists :Dr.Daniel Osei.Ofosu and Dr Jerry Nboyine made presentations on Basics of GM technology, Biosafety regulations in Ghana,process & status of Pod Borer Resistant (PBR) COMPEA) development in Ghana among other topics.
The scientists in their presentations provided scientific evidence to prove that Organic farming alone can’t feed the World.
They are therefore advocating for Ghana to look at the indigenous products and adopt a technology to help address the current challenged agricultural sector was facing.
Dr.Jerry Nboyine,a researcher with the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR-SARI) stated emphatically that Genetically Modified Organism (GMOs) have been consumed for over three decades now and no one has died of it.Stressing that Organic agricultural can’t feed the World..His assertion was fully supported by Dr.Daniel OSEI Ofosu, national coordinator Program for Biosafety System.According him,the reality is that “we can’t feed the world with organic farming.I have worked with farmers for about Fifteen (15) years now and have met thousands of farmers.He admitted that Agricultural sector in Ghana faces alot of challenges ; transit,pests and diseases etc .
Dr Ofosu said countries should be allowed to look at a technology that benefits them and this is what we scientists are advocating for”.He however, disclosed that in Ghana,”we currently don’t have GMO.According to him,all items are currently under going test or trails.
Records available indicate that, Ghana’s Council for Scientific and Industrial Research-Savannah Agricultural Research Institute (CSIR-SARI) has,since 2012,undertaken research in the development of PBR COMPEA variety and is at the point of seeking regulatory approval for its release to the farming community for cultivation.The good news is that Ghana’s Biosafety Act 831 of 2011 provides the legislative framework to ensure on adequate level of protection in the field of safety development, transfer handling and use of GMOs resulting from biotechnology that may have an adverse effect on health and environment.
For the avoidance of doubt, Ghana’s GM Compea is engineered to be resistant to Maruca pest.
GM Compea is being developed by Ghanaian scientists at CSIR-SARI and GM Compea is also being developed using the local Songotra variety.
On his part,Dr Richard Ampadu-Ameyaw,the National Coordinator for OFAB) said they have no intention of imposing GMO on anyone.
He said the workshop aimed at equipping the media with the necessay information to enable them contribute significantly to demystify the misconception about GMOs.
This, according to him, would go along way to help the media effectively educate the general public to adopt the best technology to ensure sustainable national food security and improved livelihoods of farmers.Story by Isaac Amoah