Ghana to begin consumption of GMO foods from 2020
The GMO foods to be consumed include Bacillus thuringiensi (Bt) cowpea and Nitrogen Use Efficient, Water Use Efficient Salt Tolerant (Newest) rice.
According to Dr Ameyaw, the GMO foods were being produced with the intention of enhancing agricultural production and also deal with pests, diseases and the negative impact of climate change.
Dr Ampadu-Ameyaw said at a programme dubbed, “ask about GMOs forum” organised by Alliance for Science Ghana, a network of farmers, scientists working to ensure improved food and environmental security in the country in Accra yesterday.
The event sought to bring ordinary people to interact with officials of the National Biosafety Authority which is the government institution tasked with regulating biotechnology and GMO foods.
He said the technology had raised questions since its adaption and maintained that Genetically Modified (GM) foods posed no risk to lives.
He stated GM foods were not harmful to humans and animals as claimed by some anti GM activists and, therefore, called on farmers and the general public to disabuse their minds on such campaigns.
The scientist said biotechnology foods had been used for years but there had not been any report from any health institution indicating that a patient had been affected as a result of consuming GM foods.
He said modern biotechnology foods such as cornflakes, yoghurt and cheese had been consumed for a very long time but has not endangered any individual’s life.
Dr Ampadu-Ameyaw observed that modern biotechnology had come to address many challenges of farmers including pests, weeds and diseases, spoilage due to over-ripening, poor quality soil, inadequate irrigation and absence of appropriate technology.
The doctor stated the need for modern biotechnology since weeds competed with crops for water, nutrients, sunlight, and space and also harboured insects, pest and diseases and also contaminated harvest.
Dr Ampadu-Ameyaw expressed the hope that GM technology would solve the problem of nutritional deficiency in children with the introduction of the Golden rice which contained vitamin A and iron.
Mr Eric Amaning Okoree, the Chief Executive Officer of the National Biosafety Authority (NBA), in his remarks noted that it was about time Ghana adopted GM and it should be backed by enough funding as scientists and researchers would need lots of funds trying to transfer genes from the natural source.
He said the objective of the NBA was to ensure an adequate level of protection in the field of safe development transfer, handling and use of genetically modified organisms from biotechnology that may have adverse effect on health and environment. — B4FA/GB