The proposal to grow Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) in Ghana is a huge threat on the biodiversity of the nation and the sub-region, Food Sovereignty Ghana (FSG) has said.
According to FSG, the country’s agriculture did not need GMOs but rather requires a policy that would stop the declining of soil fertility through the use of dangerous agro-chemicals.
The Communications Director of FSG, Mr Edwin Kweku Andoh Baffour, said this in Accra on Thursday when the organisation received an international award at the 14th edition of the United States (US) Food Sovereignty Alliance award.
FSG was awarded the 2022 food sovereignty prize which was held virtually.
Speaking after receiving the award, Mr Baffour said the introduction of genetically modified version of cowpea which is locally known as beans would have adverse effect on Ghanaians.
He stated that cowpea was a key ingredient in staple foods suchas waakye, tugbaani, koose, red-red and others and a modified version of it might be harmful to the consumer.
He indicated that there were many traditional varieties of the cowpea which could be lost forever due to the contamination in the field by the character of the genetically modified variety.
“Our fundamental concern with this novel technological innovation is the speed to market with clear lack of guidance from research on the effects from its consumption over an acceptable period of time.
“There exist no long term epidemiological studies on the consumption of a genetically modified cowpea anywhere in the world,” he stated.
Mr Baffour said the government should promote policies that would produce pliable roads from the farm gate to the market, credit extensions from banks, investment in irrigation technology and post- harvest infrastructure for storage.
He said due to effects of climate change, it was crucial to ensure that in food production resilient seeds which were adaptable to different environmental and climatic zones we produced locally.
He mentioned that efforts to introduce policies that would disenfranchise smallholder farmers should be considered as Ghana was a signatory to international treaties that oblige it to protect the rights of such farmers.
Mr Baffour called on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Ministries of Agriculture and Health to ban the use of dangerous chemicals in food production like glyphosate ad chlorpyrifos based pesticides and herbicides.
He said the illegal mining menace had gone out of control and its implication on the future welfare of smallholder farmers regarding access to arable land and the production of portable water would be devastating.
Mr Baffour, therefore, called for a change in attitude and commitment to deal with the menace by key stakeholders.
BY JEMIMA ESINAM KUATSINU