Editors and Senior journalists in the Ashanti region have been schooled on Biotechnology and Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) at a forum organised by the Open Forum on Agriculture Biotechnology (OFAB)Ghana, in collaboration with the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).
The one-day workshop was meant to equip the media practitioners with the knowledge and understanding of biotechnology in farming and agriculture, to enable them clarify GM technology activities in Ghana and the status of work done on GM product (PBR Cowpea) within CSIR in Ghana, to help educate the general public to adopt the technology and ensure sustainable national food security and improved livelihoods of farmers.
Participants were thus expected to contribute to demystifying the misconception and mystery surrounding the adoption of the intervention.
Biotechnology involves the exploitation of the biological processes for industrial and other purposes, particularly the genetic manipulation of micro-organisms for the production of antibiotics and hormones, among others.
Dr. Daniel Osei Fosu, National Coordinator of the Program for Biosafety Systems, speaking on Basics and Development of GM Technology and Biosafety regulations in Ghana, stressed the need to adopt relevant techniques and best practices to enhance agricultural produce.
According to him, Ghana experiences food security in only plantain, cassava and yam and that there are no GM in Ghana, adding that currently those in existence are under confinement or trial, which approach has been granted by the National Biosafety Authority (NBA).
He said even though GM Technology is not a panacea for all problems,food and environmental safety in Ghana can be assured by adopting the intervention based on proper regulation because local scientists are capable of delivering positive results.
The Program for Biosafety Systems Country Coordinator said regularisation is needed to sieve and modify agricultural products.
Dr. Jerry Nboyine, a Researcher with the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research of the Savanna Agricultural Research Institute(CSIR-SARI) at Nyankpala, has encouraged Ghanaians to embrace the genetically modified organism (GMOs).
According to him, Organic farming alone cannot feed us as Ghanaians emphasizing that without biotechnology especially in a growing global population, it would be difficult for countries including Ghana to feed itself.
He explained that food security meant producing enough quality food to meet market demand.
Other facilitators at the workshop were Prof. Walter S. Alhassan and Dr. Richard Ampadu- Ameyaw, National Co-ordinator for Open Forum on Agricultural Biotechnology (OFAB).