By Joyce Bedeley:
Vice president of the Ghana National Association of Fishers and Fishermen has been explaining to rite news on what informed their decision to lend their support and backing to the in-coming minister of food and agriculture. This is despite opposition from certain quarters, particularly, Food Sovereignty Ghana on the grounds that Dr. Akoto Osei supported the policies of Genetically Modified Foods in Ghana.
But backing the minister-designate, Mr. John Dziwornu said he believes that the upcoming minister will restructure the country’s partnership with our developing partners rather than sending farmers to expensive hotels to sleep with the idea that they are building capacities, noting that such monies could have been channeled to address the issue of post-harvest loses.
On Dr. Afriyie’s pledge to create 750,000 jobs, Mr. Dziwornu called on the new minister to study the sector very well such as the needs of the farmers. He called on Dr. Akoto to as a matter of priority meet the various leaderships of the farmers such as the National Farmers and Fishermen Award Winners Association of Ghana, NFFAWAG, and the Ghana National Association of Fishers and Fishermen, GNAFF.
This he noted would inform their priorities such as which sectors need new job creation and where not to concentrate in order to promote the interest of the grass root farmers.
Civil Society Group Food Sovereignty Ghana (FSG) issued a statement last week indicating it wais strongly opposed to the nomination of Dr. Afriyie Akoto as Minister-Designate for Agriculture. The group called on the president, Nana Akufo-Addo to drop his name for the slot, and petitioned Parliament to reject his nomination. This however did not stop the intended vetting of Dr. Afriyie as he was vetted last Tuesday.
The group’s demand stemmed from what it says is the minister-designate’s support for plans to introduce Genetically Modified Foods (GM Foods) into the country’s food chain, claiming “Dr. Afriyie Akoto has already demonstrated profound ignorance on the subject of GMOs and a shocking indifference to the lives and wellbeing of Ghanaians,” citing a media interview he granted in 2014.
The group claims GM foods are dangerous and has been responsible for causing health problems in the USA, but the Minister-Designate supports its introduction into Ghana.
But reacting to this on the Rite midday news on Wednesday, Mr. Dziwornu chastised FSG and questioned the group on whether they can lay claim to being farmers since they don’t speak for the Ghanaian farmer, contrary to the minister-designate’s position as a cocoa and coffee farmer.
‘If you look at the background of Food Sovereignty, they are not farmers…. So, they don’t represent farmers. The minister is a farmer, and I think his knowledge about how government can drive Agric through science and technology is very paramount and he understands the role that GMOs can play in our food security better than Food Sovereignty Ghana,” he said.