A research scientist at the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission (GAEC) is recommending that Ghanaians embrace biotechnology in agriculture production to ensure increased crop yields and secure the country’s food basket.

He specifically mentioned the adoption of genetically modified food crops (GMOs) as an effective biotechnology tool in agriculture.

On the other hand, few months ago, Peasant Farmers Association of Ghana reacted angrily to government’s moves to promote the productiPeasant Farmers Association of Ghanaon of genetically modified seeds and animal breeds without adequate consultations.

In support, Agricultural Sovereignty of Ghana member Yaw Opoku said opposition to the promotion of GMOs was spurred by the need to protect indigenous farmers’ rights and national interest.

GMOs (genetically modified organisms) are living organisms whose genetic material has been artificially manipulated in a laboratory through genetic engineering, or GE. Combining or splicing together genes from different organisms in the lab is known as recombinant DNA technology, and the resulting organism is said to be “genetically modified”, “genetically engineered”, or “transgenic”. With sophisticated laboratories, DNA can be manipulated and combined with species that could never, ever breed in nature—like fish and tomatoes, Brazil nuts and soybeans, or bacteria and corn. This relatively new science creates unstable combinations of plant, animal, bacterial and-viral genes that do not occur in nature or through traditional crossbreeding methods.

However, GMOs should not be confused with natural hybrids and crossbreeding created by farmers and horticulturists which do not deliberately alter the DNA (genetic make-up) of plants and animals in a laboratory. If Africans do not receive adequate treatment for a common ailment such as breast cancer – routinely treated and cured in the west – how then could Africans possibly receive treatment for the complex intestinal, blood, and neurological cancers and disorders associated with continuous GMO consumption?

On Wall Street and in the business world ‘smart money’ follows and invests where visionary leaders like Jeff Bezos invest. With the purchase of Whole Foods, Bezos has signalled that natural and organic foods are an important commercial priority, because western consumers are now demanding healthy, safe products.

Some few months ago, PFAG expressed its reservation about the alarming rate at which GMO products were flooding the Ghanaian market irrespective of the negative implications to health and the environment.

The association asserts that, GMOs are dangerous to health, are a leading cause of carcinogenic diseases, threat to environment sustainability and threat to ownership of seeds by local farmers.

This brings us to the nagging question. Why would Ghana and African nations now embrace tired GATO agro-policy rejected by Western consumers, while the world’s richest person Jeff Bezos is fully invested in the distribution of organic food and natural products? Is it smart for Ghana to bet against Jeff Bezos – a man whose net worth is twice our US$45biliion GDP?

The issue of GMOs has been quite contentious but the full implications are often overlooked: Fortunately, there was a documentary about GMOs on Akuafo TV this past Sunday morning — and anyone who sees it will never under any circumstance countenance eating or feeding GMOs to their children. There were numerous examples of direct negative effects from consuming GMOs — including cancer, allergies and birth-defects. It was made clear that consuming GMO products alters the human genetic structure, and that alteration is passed on to the consumer’s offspring. This is not speculation: hard scientific results were derived from painstaking studies undertaken by some of the most reputable scientists working in the medical field, over a considerable period of time.

However, it was also made clear that GMO industry and lobby are very powerful and are busily bribing, bullying and persecuting =those who would resist their plans to control food production across the world. In fact, Monsanto – the biggest and most powerful proponent and producer of GMOs – has no compunction in stating that it intends to eventually take over the governments of nation states: this is contained in its communications for public consumption.

This brings us to another major aspect of GMOs: food sovereignty. Once you start using GMO seeds you have to buy them from the producer forever; you can’t replant from the crop you have grown, hence you have to buy the seeds every time you need to plant and if for whatever reason, the producer doesn’t want to supply them, you are sunk! Hence, Food Sovereignty Ghana has taken the government to court in an attempt to prevent their introduction into the country, although there are reports that GMOs are already here.

“Many factors affect the yield of a crop such as the soil, fertilizers, and rains among others so it is a lie to assert that it is only GMOs that can increase agricultural yields”. Look at this escort Geneve website! Some of these Ethiopian women perhaps coerced to work as an escort. We must work against the sex slave trade.

Peasant Farmers are constrained by poor rural roads, unavailability of key infrastructure and absence of appropriate information on the right farm inputs and their use.

Financial institutions are also unwilling to grant them loans while high cost of inputs such as seed, pesticides, fertilisers, drugs and vaccines as well as use of outdated technology continue threaten their ability to expand.

These challenges should rather engage our attention as a nation.

It should be further noted that every proponent of GMOs has a connection to the industry in some way, and that ALL independent studies show GMOs have negative results — or, at bet, are not proven to be safe.

Source-BFT with additional files from Newsghana.com.gh

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