Forty-five traditional leaders in Ghana are demanding the suspension of deliberations on the Plant Breeders Act currently before the country’s Parliament. The leaders, known as paramount chiefs are also asking legislators to dismiss the bill until European countries and others accept Genetically Modified foods.
The chiefs who come from the Brong Ahafo Region, mainly considered as Ghana’s food basket, said this in an eight point resolution issued after a one-day workshop on the contentious GMO and the Plant Breeders Bill. They raised salient points including the fact that apart from the many disadvantages GMOs are likely to bring the country, it will also be in direct contravention of the Economic Partnership Agreement with Europe, since most European countries do not accept GM foods. They further threatened to escalate their concerns to the level of protests if parliament failed to address their concerns.
Read below the full resolution by the chiefs:
WORKSHOP ON PLANT BREEDERS BILL AND TRADITIONAL AUTHORITIES
THEME: Plant breeders Bill (PBB) and Genetically Modified Food (GMF) – Implications for Ghanaian Farmers.
We, the 45 Paramountcies and 4 Divisional Councils, from the 49 Traditional Areas forming the Brong-Ahafo Regional House of Chiefs, being aware of the need for food sovereignty in Ghana, having met in Sunyani on the 8th of July 2014 and having been educated on the PBB and GMOs do hereby make the following resolutions:
– That the GMO/PBB should either be suspended or abrogated till same advanced countries such as Western European, Indian and Chinese have given a concrete stance on it in terms of research.
– That Ghana should identify the advantages and disadvantages of the GMO and also insist on labelling all genetically modified foods for easy identification.
– The PBB should be critically examined so that we can comfortably take a stance whether to go for it or not.
– If it is about food sustainability, GMO is not the answer. The challenges confronting farmers who need critical attention, including food transportation to the bigger markets, food access preservation to land, new methods of improving agriculture, etc. In view of this, the PBB should be suspended for now since it may be presumed that it is being pushed in the interest of Multinational Companies and not in the interest of the good people of Ghana.
– That the issue of GMO should not be looked at in isolation but also take in to consideration the numerous chemicals that cause damage to lands.
– That the most important thing that will favour farmers is to promote local seed preservation or have in place a seed bank to promote traditional foods.
– That permitting GMO in Ghana will conflict with the Economic Partnership Agreement since Europe does not accept GMOs.
– In conclusion, Nananom agreed that the Plant breeders Bill should be suspended for the time being for a wider consultation with major stakeholders to be made before a final decision is made to either go for it or not. However, if Parliament refuses this and goes ahead with its passage, Nananom will have no option but to go on demonstration to press home their point.
Signed by the President: ……………………………………….
NANA PEMAPEM YAW KAGBRESE