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Unlike Nigeria, Ghanaian Minister says ‘We don’t need GMOs

At a time the Federal Government of Nigeria is driving institution of Genetically Modified Foods (GMOs), Ghanaian Minister for Food and Agriculture, (MOFA), Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto Wednesday ruled out adoption of GMOs, insisting that “Ghana does not need Genetically Modified foods because it can rely on other productive means to ensure food security”.
According to him, “We have not maximised the use of our traditional techniques, such as cross-breeding, budding and grafting, for production, besides, the citizens have expressed their aversion to GM foods.”
The World health Organisation defines GM foods as “organisms – plants, plants or micro-organisms – in which the genetic material (DNA) has been altered in a way that does not occur naturally my mating and or natural recombination”.
The debate on GM foods continues as proponents say it provides the way to significantly increase yields and control diseases and pests.
Business Hilights Ghana Bureau chief reports that the Minister was responding to questions, after he had read his speech, at the maiden regional meeting, in Accra, of Country Directors of West and Central Africa of the World Food Programme (WFP).
The explanation started when one of the directors wanted to know if Ghana would consider the integration of GMOs; following The Minister’s address, which highlighted the successes being chalked under the flagship Government intervention, ‘Planting for Foods and Jobs’ and the plans to include other modules.
It would be recalled that the key objection to GMOs had been the scientific fact that they present risks to human health and safety and as well interference to the natural environment.
Besides, Dr Akoto said Ghana’s food sufficiency situation was manageable, with the Government importing occasionally, when there was drought to complement local output.
Continuing, he noted that Hybrid seeds for instance, the Minister said, could give 40 bags of grains per acre, which was 10 times what the GMOs could produce, adding that 11 percent of farmers also used improved seeds and fertiliser to improve their yields.
Besides, Ghanaian universities had developed enough methods of improving the Agricultural sector, which were yet to be utilised, thus, GMOs was not an imperative.