“We will make a lot of noise; they can’t sleep…if this one fails which I wonder, we will chant them down spiritually. When they start getting cancer, they will think twice”
Maverick Ghanaian radio personality and activist Blakk Rasta says Ghanaians will use every trick in the book to prevent genetically modified (GM) foods being introduced into the country’s agricultural system. He says if everything else fails, they will seek spiritual closure to the matter. “We will make a lot of noise; they can’t sleep…if this one fails which I wonder, we will chant them down spiritually. When they start getting cancer, they will think twice”, he said.
The outspoken activist who also doubles as a hit-making reggae artist appeared on Sahara TV’s weekly broadcast with Duke Tagoe, Deputy Director of of the Non-Governmental Organization, Food Sovereignty Ghana where he made these comments.
A couple of weeks ago, 40 journalists who were invited to a seminar to acquaint themselves with knowledge of GMOs to enable them do informed write- ups on the topic sent a petition to parliament asking them to freeze legislation until Ghanaians are well educated and their input sought on the subject. The matter is currently before parliament couched in the Plant Breeders’ Bill and the Bio-Safety Act 2011.
The issue has seen some amount of debate with a few protests organized by Food Sovereignty Ghana to sensitize Ghanaians on the dangers of introducing GMOs to the country’s food chain without proper debate. Other bodies like the Catholic Bishops Conference, the Private University Students Association of Ghana (PUSAG) and the Ghana Export Promotions Council have also added their voice, asking Government to thread cautiously on the issue. Some notables like the Deputy Minister for Agriculture, Dr. Walter Yakubu Alhassan and Convention People’s Party flag-bearer Dr. Abu Sakara Foster – both acclaimed agriculturists – have however surfaced as serious advocates of GMOs.
Blakk Rasta decried the attitude of some Members of Parliament describing it as “unfortunate”. He said when the group forwarded the petition, one of them asked if they had the permission of Ghanaian farmers to speak on their behalf. “Should we have the permission of the Ghanaian farmer before we fight for what is right for them?” he quizzed.
Asked about the phenomenon of GM tomatoes and other food items flooding unchecked into the country from neighboring Burkina Faso, Blakk Rasta said the solution to that lies in Ghana banning all imports from that country.
On his part, Duke Tagoe outlined the horrors Ghana faces if GMOs are introduced into the country. He said GM giants Monsanto and other multi-national agricultural companies are conniving with some devious politicians to sneak GMOs into the country. He said he is however optimistic that Ghanaians are slowly but surely catching up to the scheme and will reject these moves. He threatened a lawsuit if parliament ignores their protests and passes the bill. He also said GM foods are already on the market and cautioned Ghanaians to look out for certain brands like Bokomo Corn Flakes.
He further stated that scientists at the Ghana Center for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) have already come up with high yielding, pest resistant varieties of several crops and wondered why the government would not concentrate on supporting the efforts of these scientists instead of turning to GM foods. “What is so unique about these varieties is that it was done in accordance with the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) of eliminating extreme hunger and poverty…why are we leaving these particular varieties and we are going to bring in GMO seeds from Monsanto that we don’t control?”, he bemoaned.
The two vowed to continue the fight against the introduction of GM foods into Ghana and to force the hand of government to do what is right by the people.
Photos Courtesy: The Insight Newspaper/www.ghanaweb.com