A delegation from the Namibia Biosafety Council has visited the Savannah Agricultural Research Institute of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR – SARI) at Nyankpala near Tamale to learn about Ghana’s experiences in researching into Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs).
The visit was also to enable members of the delegation to learn about how the GMO system was set up in Ghana in terms of creating the regulatory institution, the legal framework and the infrastructure, all of which culminated in Ghana undertaking confined field trials of GMO cowpea and Bt cotton.
This was to enable Namibia not to repeat any mistakes that might have been made in Ghana’s case.
Namibia, a southern African country, is a party to the Cartagena Protocol and has drafted a Biosafety Law in preparation to begin research into GMOs in the near future.
Research scientists at CSIR – SARI took turns to present reports on the ongoing confined field trials of GMO cowpea and Bt cotton after which the delegation took a tour of the fields at Nyankpala.
Dr Mashark Abdulai, Chairman of the Institutional Biosafety Committee at CSIR – SARI, who spoke about the research into GMOs in the country, emphasized the need for people to understand biotechnology to enable them to appreciate the efforts being made by scientists in the area of GMOs.
Mr Eric Amaning Okoree, acting Chief Executive Officer of the National Biosafety Authority said the country had put in place the regulatory institution and the legal framework to effectively regulate the GMO sector to ensure safety of all.
Mr Vincent Nowaseb, Manager, Biotechnology at the National Commission on Research, Science and Technology of Namibia, who presented a report on the biosafety situation in Namibia, said the delegation was impressed at what it had learnt about Ghana’s biosafety set up.