GHANA- Ghana’s agricultural sector finds itself at the center of a controversy following the recent approval by the National Biosafety Authority (NBA) for introducing 14 genetically modified organism (GMO) products into the market. 

These include six varieties of soybeans, and eight varieties of corn, sparking criticism from the  Peasant Farmers’ Association of Ghana (PFAG).

The approval of GMO seeds comes after Ghana’s previous adoption of genetically modified cowpeas in June 2022, aimed at combating the pod borer “Maruca vitrata.” 

In a press release, the PFAG expressed vehement opposition to the NBA’s decision, labeling it as detrimental to the Ghanaian agricultural landscape. 

The association highlighted what they perceive as a contradiction in the government’s stance, citing previous statements from the Minister of Agriculture advocating for reliance on local researchers to develop high-yield crops without needing GMOs.

PFAG President, Wepia Addo Adugwala, questioned the necessity of GMOs for food security, pointing out the success of Ghanaian farmers in meeting local demands without government assistance. 

Adugwala emphasized concerns over potential negative impacts on health, the economy, and the environment associated with GMOs.

Moreover, the PFAG expressed apprehension about the threat GMOs pose to varietal diversity and the existing system of seed acquisition from local breeders. The association called on the government to prioritize transparency and urged producers to reject the utilization of GMO seeds.

If we can produce so much with our local seeds, why the preference for laboratory seeds that come with serious negative implications for health, the economy, and the environment?” Adugwala questioned.

Additionally, the association argues that depending on GMO seeds from multinational corporations will erode their independence and threaten their livelihoods. 

The experiences of COVID-19 and the Russia-Ukraine crises on food nationalism and protectionism should have given our leaders a hint of not sacrificing the control of a country’s production system, particularly seeds, into the hands of multinationals,” Adugwala emphasized.

These farmers also warned that GMOs could lead to the country being denied much-needed foreign revenue due to global restrictions on the import of GMO foods.

Amidst the controversy, some market players view the approval as a positive step for Ghana’s biotechnology sector, positioning it alongside regional competitors like Nigeria

However, the PFAG’s stance underscores broader concerns within the agricultural community regarding the implications of GMO adoption for Ghana’s indigenous agricultural practices and sovereignty.

Despite diverging opinions on the matter, the PFAG’s call for transparency and caution reflects the need for comprehensive dialogue and careful consideration of the implications of GMO adoption in Ghana’s agricultural landscape.

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