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“gmo was brought through back door” – Edwin Kwaku Andoh Barfour

Genetically Modified Organisms continue to attract a lot of controversy in Ghana. Controversy surrounding its safety, regulation, research, fear of replacing indigenous species, Ghana’s readiness to wholly accept it and very recently, the issue of illegal smuggling of GMOs into the country.

In an attempt to resist its introduction, activist groups like Food Sovereignty Ghana, the Coalition for Farmer’s Rights, Advocacy against GMOs, Ghana Catholic Bishops’ Conference and the Coalition against GMO have emphatically stated their stand against the gmo technology.

Lately, the Food Sovereignty Ghana has called for the mandatory labelling of GMO products. Mr. Kwaku Andoh of Food Sovereignty Ghana reveals that the FDA seems to be leaning towards a voluntary labelling regime which will give the manufacturer the choice of indicating whether the product contains GMO products or not. If this happens, the publics’ right to choose will be nullified since they may consume GMO products due to lack of information.

In an interview with Somanya based Rite FM, Mr. Edwin Kwaku Andoh Barfour; Communications Director for Food Sovereignty Ghana stated that contrary to perceptions that the group seeks to endorse the gmo technology, its call is rather to ensure the mandatory labelling of GMO products before being forward onto the Ghanaian market.

“Most people do not know about GMO because we believe it was brought through the back door,” he said. “The policy makers are working backwards as they are not doing a lot of outreaches and education on the subject.”

In their defense, the Food Sovereignty Ghana states that the basic problems confronting the development of the agriculture sector in Ghana including bad road linkages and its attendant postharvest losses, limited access to credit, rainfall dependent agriculture, underutilized irrigation technology, insufficient warehouses. etc. have not been fully tackled.

The fact that these problems have not been completely dealt should be the topic for discussion and not GMO introduction.

The former suggests to the FSG that the introduction of GMO is being pushed by foreign interests.  “Organic farming is a growing trend and it will be a mistake for a developing country like Ghana not to invest in it,” Mr. Andoh said. In other countries where these GMOs were grown, the pests developed resistance against them. For instance, the Boll worm is resistant to GM maize in America and is also resistant to GM cotton in India as genetically modified corn seeds are no longer protecting Brazilian farmers from voracious tropical bugs, increasing costs as producers turn to pesticides (Scientific American). These trends and more inform these activist groups stand against GMOs and allow mandatory labelling.

Mr. Andoh called for a meeting between all the stakeholders to ensure that a consensus is reached on the controversy.

Source: Ghana| ritefmonline.org | Patrick Laryea | laryeapatricknii@yahoo.com

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