Local seeds are still viable-Farmers

The National President of the Peasant Farmers Association of Ghana, Mr Wepia Addo Awal Adugwala has reminded policy makers that the problems bedeviling Ghana’s Agricultural sector has nothing to do with Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs).

Mr Awal Adugwala identified irrigation, Agriculture mechanization, bad roads, and access to markets as some of the pressing issues militating against agriculture and food security.

He said the presence of GMOs in Ghana would not solve food security, saying, ‘already a lot of farmers in Northern Ghana and the middle belt produce a lot of food but have no ready market, storage system, bad roads among other challenges’.

He was speaking at a workshop organised by the Center for Indigenous Knowledge and Organizational Development (CIKOD), with Members of the Ghana Agroecology Movement in the forest zone and key stakeholders in farming to streamline issues in the Agricultural sector.

The workshop sought to review activities of the farmers as well as sensitize them and cons
umers on the commercialization of GMOs on the Ghanaian market.

The workshop agreed on concrete steps to strengthen the Agroecology movement in the forest zone and discussed the implications of the commercialization of the 14 novel GMO products comprising eight maize and six soya bean products by the National Bio-Safety Authority on the Ghanaian market.

The National President called on leaders of the small holder groups to educate their farmers that ‘our traditional seeds are still the best’.

Mr Awal Adugwala urged the government to continue to invest in local seeds and support institutions like the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research to improve local varieties that can withstand climatic conditions.

The President of PFAG urged the Biosafety Authority to also label foods properly on the market to make distinction between the GMOs and organic foods.

Since 2009, CIKOD, ActionAid Ghana and the Peasant Farmers Association of Ghana (PFAG) have been facilitating the strengthening of the Ghana Agroeco
logy Movement as a Civil Society Organizations-led platform that is championing Agroecology issues in Ghana.

The Deputy Executive Director of CIKOD, South, Mr Wilberforce Laate said the main objective of the platform was to build a Movement made up of well-informed multi-stakeholder membership, organized in structure and function, promoting Agroecology practices as well as advocacy activities in Ghana.

Mr Laate reminded stakeholders in Agriculture that the GMOs were false solutions and did not meet the challenges of food security in Ghana.

He advised CSOs, farmers and other stakeholders to come together to promote local seeds for planting and consumption.

Mt. Laate advised farmers to venture into Agroecology and organic farming on a large scale to demonstrate its relevance for policy makers to make informed decisions.

‘The platform also seeks to influence Agricultural policy on food systems that impact positively on Agricultural development and the environment including the well-being among identifiable
food value chain actors in Ghana’.

Mr Laate said over the past few years, CIKOD have collaborated with other partners to strengthen the concept and practices of Agroecology among members of the Ghana Agroecology Movement in the Forest zone through workshops, caravan tours and others.

Parliament passed the Biosafety Act in 2011 and the Plant Variety Protection Bill (Plant Breeders Bill) in 2020.

Source: Ghana News Agency