Parliament urged to pass 'GMO' bill

Tuesday, 31 May 2016 17:58
Ghana has permits to GMO cowpea and rice Ghana has permits to GMO cowpea and rice

Parliament has been urged to pass the Plant Breeders Bill to protect intellectual property for food security.

Former Head of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) Professor Walter Sandow Alhassan explained that concerns on the bill have nothing to do with genetic modifications given the fact that they are not dangerous as perceived.

He added that we should rather be more concerned with pesticide residue on food crops which are more dangerous and pose a health risk to humans upon consumption.

With change in climate and continuous post-harvest loss in recent times, scientists believe there is an urgent need to improve on crop assertions and crop resistance against droughts and diseases.

At Bonsu in the East Akyem Municipality of the Eastern Region, Professor Walter Alhassan shared with journalists reasons why Parliament must pass the Plant Breeders Bill urgently, launching the global status of biotech.

He said there was the need to strengthen regulatory agencies on food while more investment in research is taken up seriously in order to meet global changing trends and safeguard against food security.

Dr. Lawreance Aboagye, who heads the Plant Genetic Resources Research Institute (PGRRI), explained that efforts at collection and preserving of crop assertions have not been devoid of challenges.

He allayed fears on food security, but pointed out that food security wasn't just about the production and processing of food but more critically the nutritional values as well.

Professor Kenneth Danso of the Biotechnology and Nuclear Agriculture Research Institute (BNARI) under the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission (GAEC) emphasized there was the need to deal with crop assertions rather than the usual inputs for farmers.

He cautioned against the perception of force ripening of fruits and other crops suggesting they were the results of genetic manipulation.

The country has permits on two Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) crops, cowpea and rice, which are currently undergoing field trials from donor funding.

By Yvonne Neequaye|tv3network.com|Ghana