The National Biosafety Authority (NBA) says Ghana has not yet introduced Genetically Modified (GM) food onto the market contrary to reports by anti-GM crusaders that the produce were on the market.
Acting Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the NBA, Eric Okoree, who was reacting to rumours about GM food, said more public sensitization must be done on the current state of GM foods in Ghana.
Speaking at a training workshop organized for journalists by the Programme for Biosafety Systems (PBS) in partnership with NBA recently in Accra, Mr Okoree said Ghana was still at the confined stage.
Themed: “Agricultural Biotechnology and Communication Risk Management,” the workshop was aimed at equipping the media with required knowledge on biosafety and best practices in genetic modification, research and developments with regards to addressing the myths surrounding the introduction of GM foods in Ghana.
Prof Kenneth Danso, Director of Biotechnology and Nuclear Agricultural Research Institute (BNARI), in a presentation, said the only difference between GM foods and the conventional ones was the means of cultivation.
“What is being done is that with GM crops, genes are moved from one organism to the other and not fluids or the organism itself enabling direct transfer of hereditary material like gene from one organism to another…There has not been any scientific evidence to the effect that GM foods pose health danger and cause hazards to the consumer.”
Prof Danso was of the view that GM crops, when introduced in Ghana, would yield positive results since they were drought resistance and could withstand any weather condition.
They would ensure higher yields which would result in food security and high economic benefits.
He called on the media to equip themselves with information on GM in order to accurately and objectively report on them.
Prof Walter Sandow, a Biosafety Consultant, giving an overview of GM food globally, said the perceived health concerns such as allergy was not peculiar to GM foods only, adding that even the conventional foods could also cause allergies.
He said 2014 was the 19th year of successful commercialization of GM crops, adding that 18 million farmers, 90 percent of whom were poor, planted a record 181 million hectares of biotech crops in 28 countries.
“On average, GM technology adoption has reduced chemical pesticide use by 37 percent, increased crop yields by 22 percent and increased farmer profits by 68 percent