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 » Ghanian Contents Only » Ghana News Achieve » 

‘Thorough research necessary to decide on GMOs’

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The call for the outright rejection of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) or its acceptance without the assessment of its associated potentials is inappropriate, the Minister for Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, Mr. Akwasi Oppong-Fosu, has said.

According to him, the Government was building capacity to ensure that the country harnesses the full potentials of GMOs just like other countries had done.

But the entrenched positions taken for or against its adoption Mr. Oppon-Fosu said, because of the perceived related risks or benefits, would not help country’s interest.

The Minster made the suggestion, in a speech read on his behalf, at the 14th Biennial Workshop of the Ghana Science Association dubbed: “Scientific and Technological Research towards National Development : the case of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs)”, held at Cape Coast.

The issue of GMOs has generated a heated debate between promoters and various anti GMO groups in the country, with some protestors staging demonstrations to highlight the perceived risks it could bring.

Mr. Oppong Ofosu reiterated the Government’s belief in the great potential in bio-technology, whether modern or conventional, saying, as part of its capacity building programme, the government had instituted a National Bio Safety Authority to monitor, coordinate, and regulate all issues relating to bio-technology.

The Government has also adopted a National Science Technology Observation Policy, set up an Institutional Bio-safety Committee (IBC), a Technical Advisory Committee, as well as consulted with the Centre for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).

He said four out of the five approved research into GMOs had begun.

He observed that various debates had revealed the lack of education on GMOs so at the appropriate time the Government would join the debate to ensure that the concerns of both parties were objectively addressed.

The Minister of Food and Agriculture , Mr. Fiifi Fiavi Franklin Kwetey , in a speech read on his behalf, noted that the increasing population, globally, and the anticipated reduction of arable land required the use of cutting edge scientific and technological agricultural research to boost genetic resources to enable farmers to double their productivity in food production.

He pointed out that high resistance crops had been produced, which could avert post-harvest losses, while developed countries had boosted their economy, saying that, it was time for Ghana to prioritize scientific technology for socio -economic progress to close the gap.

This, he said, required Government and private sector partnership and the commitment to provide adequate funding.

The Central Regional Minster, Mr. Aquinas Tawiah Quansah, attributed the confusion on GMOs to the lack of mass education and the strong belief in personal standards, and called for intensified education to set the facts straight.

He said the public could already be consuming some GMO products because the source of the foodstuffs used in the production of products such as fruit juices was not be readily known.

He called for collaboration between naturalists and scientists to help clear the erroneous impressions about GMOs.

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