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Ghana does not risk violating patent rights on GMOs – OFAB

The Open Forum on Agricultural Biotechnology (OFAB) Ghana has in a press release allayed fears that Ghana risks violating patent rights in its quest to produce genetically modified organisms if it goes ahead to pursue the technology.

Director of Programmes at the Peasant Farmers Association of Ghana had in an interview with Rite news cautioned that Ghana risked violating patent rights in its quest to produce genetically modified organisms.

Mr. Charles Nyaaba who feared that the country could face paying heavy fines to the rights holders if it embarked on this discourse said companies hold patent rights for seeds and can sue entities who produce such seeds without the required rights.

OFAB Ghana however said the fears are unfounded.

OFAB Ghana is a civil society platform and a member of OFAB Africa group which aims at creating awareness on biotechnology and genetically modified organisms in Africa.

The group in a statement signed by its Project Officer, Mr. Enoch Ilori regretted what it referred to as “an unfortunate misinformation,” adding that “continuous calculated attempts are being made to misinform the public about the facts concerning GMOs, its development and commercialization in Ghana.”

The statement in seeking to set the records straight underscored the fact that ownership of the patent rights of GM seeds are treated on case by case bases and should be understood as such.

The Project Officer noted in the release that where through a joint research and development venture the GM trait is introduced into a local variety as happened with Bt cotton in Burkina Faso, there will be joint ownership and sharing of the royalty.

According to Mr. Enoch Ilori, Ghana would become owners of the patent rights even if it takes the GM traits from the technology owner.

“Where the technology owner directly or through an agency donates the GM trait to a beneficiary, the beneficiary fully owns the right as is the case with Ghana in the Pod Borer Resistant cowpea, (a GMO) under trial. Therefore, Ghana will own the right to the technology fully,” the statement clarified.

Find attached the full statement from OFAB Ghana

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