CIKOD, ABN wage war on GM products
By: Masahudu Ankiilu Kunatech
The Centre for Indigenous Knowledge and Organisational Development (CIKOD), a non-governmental organisation (NGO) based in Ghana, and the Kenya-headquartered African Biodiversity Network (ABN), have waged war on Genetic Modified (GM) products in Ghana and other parts of Africa.
According to the two NGOs, GM products have health and environmental implications for the country and Africa at large.
At a two-day workshop on biotechnology and the implications of Genetic Modified Organisms (GMOs) on small scale farmers (SSF), which was organised by CIKOD in partnership with ABN in Accra, the speakers and participants expressed worry over the invasion of the country and the African continent by GM products.
Speaking on a topic ‘Genetic Engineering: the Risks to Food, Farming, and Biodiversity’ at the first day of the workshop, a Molecular Geneticist and Developmental Biologist, Dr. Ricarda Steinbrecher, added that Genetic Modified Organism (GMO) issues were global concerns and needed to be tackled well.
But, she noted that GMOs were shrouded in a lot of myths, which maked education on it very difficult. These GMO myths, Madam Steinbrecher mentioned, were higher yields, less pesticides, safe for human and environment, more nutritious, and would feed the world.
She argued that the central tenet of GM in agriculture was a natural extension of the traditional breeding methods, but more precise, faster, and safer.
Presenting an overview of the workshop, Anne Maina of the African Biodiversity Network (ABN) said the workshop was an avenue for the African Centre for Biosafety (ACB) to share experiences on GMO resistance-analysis, and best practices on gene flow and genetic engineering.
The major purpose of the workshop, she indicated, was to enhance awareness and appreciation of issues related to biotechnology and GMOs, and their implications in their campaigning and advocacy work.
Madam Maina stressed that the specific objectives of the workshop included stakeholders’ knowledge and understanding of genetic engineering and GMOs, their implications for sustainable agric, and sharing of best practices in gene flow and genetic engineering.
The Executive Director of CIKOD, Mr. Bernard Guri, who chaired the workshop’s opening ceremony, used the occasion to ask the Ghana government what areas the gargantuan external resources (the about $600 million from G8 summit and $50 million from the World Bank) received recently, will be invested.
He stated: “If Africa is to solve its food problems, we must begin to look for African solutions by way of adopting what we call The Endogenous Development Approach.”
Short URL: http://thechronicle.com.gh/?p=44688