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Promulgate laws against GMO soyabean commercialisation in Ghana – SVCAG

 The Soya Value Chain Association of Ghana (SVCAG) is calling on the Chief of Staff and the Minister of Food and Agriculture to engage with Parliament to promulgate laws to protect the value chain and Ghana as a whole, against the commercialisation of Genetically Modified Foods (GMO) soyabeans in Ghana.

According to the association, the commercialisation to cultivate GMO soyabean seeds would lead to loss of Ghana’s non-GMO soybean niche market, collapse the domestic market driven by con­sumer’s preference for non-GMO soybean, and push small holder farmers out of business.

This was disclosed by the chair­man of the SVCAG, Mr Thomas W. Bello, at a press briefing in Accra on Friday.

Their call followed a publication by the United States Department of Agriculture on the Global Agriculture Information Network with the heading, “Ghana Nation­al Biosafety Authority (NBA)”, on March 20, 2024, urging the government to commercialise cul­tivation of GMO soybean seeds.

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Mr Bello at the press briefing said the move would increase un­employment, undermine Ghana’s food sovereignty and security, while causing it to become less competitive on the Global market due to loss of the non-GMO status.

He also said the traits and advantages of the GMO soybean such as tolerance to Glyphosate, resistance to Lepidoptera, de­creased fatty acids, and increased oleic acid level were pertinent to the challenges faced by the Ghana­ian farmers.

Mr Bello further emphasised the need for improvement of land preparation, irrigation, mechanisa­tion, access to finance, inputs and services as well as warehousing.

“When it comes to economic benefit, the GMO soyabean gives Ghana just 20 per cent yields while the non-GMO varieties gives more than that. So what we’re saying is government should do all it can to protect and maintain the Ghanaian non-GMO soyabean production.

It is our niche market and when lost it will result in massive unem­ployment and loss of livelihood for all who benefit from the Soya Value Chain in Ghana, especially for all the Northern regions of Ghana,” he added.

The Executive Secretary for the SVCAG, Mr Yaw Afrifa, said the government’s acceptance for com­mercialisation of GMO soybean would not only affect the so­cio-economic growth, but risk the country’s biodiversity conservation due to increase use of chemicals for weeds and pest control.

This, he said, would affect the human health with potential risk of “toxicity, allergenicity and genetic hazards.”

He urged the Ghana National Biosafety Authority to keep their research and not instruct govern­ment to mandatory implement their findings or go GMO in soya.

BY VIVIAN ARTHUR

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