Food Sovereignty Ghana

A grass-roots food advocacy movement of Ghanaians both home and abroad!

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December 7, 2018
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FSG Salutes ALL Farmers & Fisher folk on National Farmers Day 2018.

Food Sovereignty Ghana (FSG) joins millions of Ghanaians in celebrating the 2018 National Farmers Day.  We fully recognize these key stakeholders of our society who are more often than not, overlooked when it comes to policy-making.  This distinguished group of Ghanaians who provide a good portion of the food we consume are marginalized and under supported.  It is therefore befitting that we as a people dedicate a day to recognize their immense contributions as well as to reward and encourage excellence in the sector through special and more relevant support packages. 

FSG is however highly concerned that the sustainability factor in our agriculture must be given more attention.  All independent research is pointing to the fact that agroecology is the best form of food production in line with the urgent demands to tackle climate change on the planet.  It is of prime importance to institute programs that will protect the future integrity of the environment and its rich fauna and flora.  The impact of the corporate lobby is increasing and the consequent impact of policy making is geared to providing investors with the greatest possible returns at the cost of farmers rights and the integrity of the environment cannot continue without serious interventions.

On such a momentous occasion we call on the government of Ghana to pay great attention to the real issues that affect our capacity to grow our agricultural sector.  The fact remains that four key areas that should be the priority of policy makers to tackle rather have been sidelined while desperate attempts are being made to adopt genetically modified organisms (GMO) technology instead.  These are ensuring access for farmers to credit facilities, building roads from the farm gates to market centers, providing irrigation technology to compliment rainfall and the provision of infrastructure like warehouses to minimize post-harvest losses.  Without tackling these basic problems, Ghana’s policy making in favour of GMO technology must be seen as solving the problems of the corporations behind the powerful GMO lobby rather than the farmers.

Two key developments with global impact have occurred since the celebration of the last Farmers Day concerning GMO technology in agriculture and these continue to highlight the sound reasoning behind the position that FSG has always held about this novel technology.  Indeed we have always reiterated the fact that scientists globally do not have consensus on the safety of GMO technology. 

Firstly the vindication by a French High Court of Prof. Eric Seralini’s landmark toxicity study on the effects on lab rats of consuming Monsanto’s GM maize and secondly the $289 million law suit against Monsanto by Mr. Johnson of California who is terminally ill with a form of Lymphoma that was directly caused by his exposure to Glyphosate, which is Monsanto’s flagship ingredient in its deadly cocktails.  FSG continues to call for a complete moratorium of GMO in Ghana based on this factual evidence available.  What would be Ghana’s interest in replacing its conventional agricultural practices to dabble in an area that is already clearly full of controversy?

Critical attention must be paid to the sustainability factor in implementing the proposed “Planting for food for jobs” program.  Any program to achieve the sort of targets identified will require much attention to detail in ensuring that factors such as soil fertility, climate change, equitable access to land, information and inclusion in policy-making are addressed.  As the most important stakeholders in the food production value chain, peasant farmers deserve to be respected and have their rights protected to ensure they continue to play the invaluable role that they have played for millennia.  Farmers’ Rights include the ability to save, use, exchange and sell farm-saved seeds and these are under heavy threat from the proposed Plant Breeders’ Bill. 

FSG is encouraged by the fact that during our last encounter a few months ago with the Parliamentary select committee on Environment the Chairperson, the late MP Hon. Emmanuel Agyarko, conceded that there remained some work to be done on improving the proposed bill in the interest of Ghanaians.

We must warn the government and Parliament to be aware of the interests behind the massive lobbying activities of the transnational corporations to ensure that profit-inspired policy is implemented contrary to their primary duty to seek the collective welfare of Ghanaians.

FSG is encouraged that logic will prevail in terms of Ghana and her agricultural policy-making in the area of biotechnology.  Recent positive developments in Uganda regarding amendments made to the proposed Biotechnology Bill were inspired by non-other than Uganda’s most senior stakeholder, His Excellency President Yoweri Museveni. There were long-standing concerns from civil society with the contents of the law and the manner in which it was being developed to introduce GMOs in the Ugandan agricultural sector. These were compromising the rights of small holder farmers who are majority of those in the agriculture sector. Right Food, Right to a clean Environment, sustainable development, sustainable diets and biodiversity of crop, animal, fisheries and insects and the growing economic market potential of organic products in the Global market.

These concerns were reiterated by the President in his letter to the speaker dated December 21, 2017 emphasizing “naming of the Law- Bio Safety Act while it actually talks about Genetically Modified Organisms. The Rights of Ugandan farmers that have for generation after generation have developed, managed, conserved and preserved the country’s genetic resources of crops, animals,  herbs, insects and fish,  total contamination of the farming system due to unregulated random introduction of GMOs all over, protection of the organic materials,  use of poisons and dangerous bacteria as inputs in genetic engineering,” protection of indigenous varieties and breeds, protection of consumers, the competent authority to oversee the provisions of the Law and labelling.

FSG wishes to remind Ghanaians that the same issues dealt with in a progressive manner in Uganda also affect Ghanaian farmers and therefore requires the same sort of attention and intervention by our most senior stakeholders. The concerns presented by President Museveni are global concerns about genetic engineering that is why the Cartagena Protocol emphasizes the precautionary principle.

The critical clauses in the Genetic Engineering Regulatory Act include a Liability and Redress Mechanism. Previously, the liability and redress system was vaguely defined to give protection to GMO developers promoting their technologies and thereby ignoring the rights of farmers.  Secondly the principle of strict liability states that whoever introduces a GMO shall be legally responsible for any damage caused as a result of the product or a process of developing it.  This clause is very essential as it is of such clauses that operationalize the precautionary principle which is a key tenet of the Cartagena Protocol to which Uganda and Ghana are signatories.  Most crucially this clause will ensure that our knowledge, ecosystems, health and nutrition are protected.  It also protects the indigenous knowledge systems or technologies of our communities. 

By renaming The National Bio Safety Act, 2017 and its previous versions of the National Biotechnology and Bio Safety Bill to the Genetic Engineering Regulatory Act, 2018, the essence of the bill has been captured and aptly represents the contents of the bill which is GMOs and its regulation.  The progressive principle of benefit sharing has been introduced to protect the rights of the communities since time in millennia who have developed, shared and saved indigenous seed. Africa is facing an onslaught of GMO developers who take indigenous seed and patent them without recognizing the rights of farmers. Therefore this provision protects the right to fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from the use of genetic resources through a benefit sharing agreement.  In the area of labelling, a comprehensive labelling and liability traceability system is key feature of any bio safety law should include relevant traits and characteristics given with sufficient detail to enable traceability.   A clause has been introduced in the new law that products should be labelled “contains genetically engineered material.” This will help consumers exercise their right to choose products free from GMOs.  FSG has made several calls on the Food & Drugs Authority to ensure a mandatory labelling regime to protect the rights of the Ghanaian consumer to make informed decisions on their food consumption.  Another very progressive clause under the new law deals with contamination and co- existence, where a person who cultivates any GMO shall prevent contamination or commingling of GMO crop with any non-genetically modified crop.  Secondly any person who keeps or owns genetically modified livestock shall prevent cross breeding between genetically modified and non- genetically modified livestock. 

Finally there is the “Home of the Competent Authority” and this provision provides for an independent council known as The National Genetic Engineering Council which will be domiciled at the discretion of the President. This is a welcome provision and ensures that the promoters of GMOs are not the same people who will regulate the development of genetic engineering in the country.

With under four percent of our arable land under irrigation, it is clear that Ghana has not concentrated on harvesting the low hanging fruits but is rather being encouraged to make policy that rather protects corporate interest.  We call on the Ghanaian people to support our farmers and fisher folk by making a conscious effort to eat food that is locally grown.

FSG wishes all peasant farmers, fisherfolk and their families a Happy Farmers Day! 

For Life, the Environment, and Social Justice!

Edwin Kweku Andoh Baffour
Communications Directorate, FSG

Contact: +233 207973808
E-mail : info@foodsovereigntyghana.org
Website: http://foodsovereigntyghana.org/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/FoodSovereignGH
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/FoodSovereigntyGhana

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November 8, 2018
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URGENT ALERT! CBD COP14 Nov 2018

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As you might know, between 17th and 29th November 2018, there will be really big set of international meetings (negotiations) taking place under the auspices of the Convention on Biological Diversity also known as COP 14 and the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety in Sharm el-Sheid Egypt.

While the agenda comprises of many, many issues, the key and highly contested for us working on food and agriculture, food sovereignty, corporate control and capture, technological lock in etc, are:

Synthetic biology
Genome editing
Gene drives
Digital sequence information

Food Sovereignty Ghana is most grateful to the ETC Group, Third World Network TWN, and African Centre for Biodiversity ACB for this important information.

Please find below, a short and crisp 4 page briefing on the key issues and urgently request that you engage with your governments on their positions on these key issues as outlined in the briefing.

African governments are no longer allies in these international meetings. We are sure you have seen the ACB’s press release on the African Union’s position on gene drives in the context of malaria eradication on the continent. If you have missed it please go to our website www.acbio.org.za

When you have a chance please also try to read the briefing by the ETC Group on gene drives in agriculture.

A statement follows!

Kind regards

CLICK HERE FOR THE DOCUMENT:

ETC_CBD_COP14_Nov2018_v6 (1)

November 1, 2018
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GMO Court Case Faces Another Hurdle

From Left to Right: Messrs Raswad Nkrabea, Edwin Bafour Andoh, of FSG with our lawyer, Mr. George Tetteh Wayoe, and Mr. Solomon Prana from the Vegetarian Association of Ghana.

From Left to Right: Messrs Raswad Nkrabea, Edwin Bafour Andoh, of FSG with our lawyer, Mr. George Tetteh Wayoe, and Mr. Solomon Prana from the Vegetarian Association of Ghana.

Food Sovereignty Ghana (FSG) appeared before the Human Rights Court in Accra on Wednesday October 31st 2018, for the continuation of the case, Food Sovereignty Ghana & 3 ors Vs National Biosafety Committee & 4 ors, against the commercialisation of genetically modified crops (GM crops) in Ghana.

In the process of application for directions to finally set issues for trial, the defendants raised issues dealing with the jurisdiction of the High Court to deliberate on the matter. They cited Section 26 of the Biosafety Act 831 which establishes a tribunal for resolving issues relating to bio-engineering and technology. The court consequently ordered the counsels for the plaintiffs to make written submissions in relation to their positions on the issue of jurisdiction.

The hearing was thus adjourned to November 16th at 11 am.

This is not the first time that the case has encountered such a hurdle. On Monday March 19, 2018, the counsel for the fifth defendants, Ghana National Association of Farmers & Fisherfolk (GNAFF), informed the court of a motion of stay of proceedings filed in the High Court. Their lawyers claimed that the ruling that dismissed the injunction in 2015 had determined the matter. Their appeal was dismissed on March 28th by the Court of Appeal.

The Accra Human Rights High Court had earlier on March 3, 2015, placed an injunction on the commercialisation of GMOs (genetically modified organisms) in Ghana, pending the adjudication of the case, but this was dismissed on Thursday, 29th October, 2015, when the court, presided over by Justice Dennis Adjei, ruled in favour of the defendants, and lifted the interlocutory injunction.

An appeal against the ruling has since been filed by FSG at the Court of Appeal on November 12, 2015. Next month would be three years and we are still waiting for the case to be called at the Court of Appeal.

However, even in the ruling against FSG, there is a grain of victory! The Judge stated in his ruling that: “The law is that, GMOs should be differentiated from organic or natural cause, and should be labelled to enable consumers know the products to take an informed decision”.

So FSG, in addition to the hot pursuit of the purveyors of GMOs in our courts, is also embarking on a national campaign for the mandatory labelling of GMOs in Ghana, “to enable consumers”, as the judge puts it, “know the products to take an informed decision”. We invite all Ghanaians who care about the food their eat, to kindly join us in this campaign.

The global debate on the issue of GMOs makes this a historic and landmark case concerning biotechnology in Ghana and the final determination will have long lasting impact on national policy regarding the introduction of GMOs into our food chain. We shall overcome!

For Life, the Environment, and Social Justice!

Edwin Kweku Andoh Baffour
Communications Directorate, FSG
Contact: +233 207973808
E-mail : info@foodsovereigntyghana.org
Website: http://foodsovereigntyghana.org/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/FoodSovereignGH
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/FoodSovereigntyGhana

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September 13, 2018
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FSG Calls for Mandatory Labelling of GM Food Products in Ghana

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We have the right to know what is inside our food!

Food Sovereignty Ghana (FSG) calls on the Ghana Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) to take all necessary measures to ensure the mandatory labelling of all genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in all food and feed in Ghana.

It would be recalled that in his ruling on the case, dismissing an interlocutory injunction on the commercial release of Bt cowpea, the first of a series of GM crops in the pipeline for Ghana, Food Sovereignty Ghana & 3 ors Vs National Biosafety Committee & 4 ors, the judge, His Lordship Sir Justice Denis Agyei, stated: “The law is that GMOs should be differentiated from organic or natural cause, and should be labelled to enable consumers know the products to take an informed decision». [13] Ruling On GMO Case: Food Sovereignty Ghana & 3 ors Vs National Biosafety Committee & 4 ors, Suit No. HRCM 43/15 29th Oct. 2015.

However, the FDA, which by law is supposed enforce that such a law, if indeed it exists, is saying that “The Food and Drugs Authority and the Ghana Standards Authority through their product registration and certification schemes respectively enforce mandatory food labelling legislations in Ghana. Current labelling legislations are the Ghana Standards Board (Food, Drugs and Other Goods) General Labelling Rules, 1992, LI 1541, and GS 46: 2004 Food Technology: Labelling of Pre-Packaged Foods. These legislations have no provisions on labelling of GM food”.

What we are asking for ought not to be controversial. The FDA’s own General Labelling Rules, 1992, (L. I. 1514) stipulate that food labelling be informative and accurate. Labelling of packaged and prepackaged products is for purposes of health, food safety and need to know. The minimum labelling requirements are that labelling should be clear, concise and in English. We insist that there is a need to know if the food or feed contains GMOs. Traceability and culpability leads to responsibility, responsibility leads to safety.

We wish to state categorically that our right to know what is in our food is a fundamental human right. It is not up for debate. There is no way our laws on the labelling of GMOs should be voluntary, as some usual suspects appear to be suggesting. So far the two principal arguments being pushed for a voluntary labelling of GM foods in Ghana are: that (i) “the discussion of labelling approved GM derived food, feed and ingredients is not a health and safety issue.” and also that (ii) It may go against “Ghana’s National Science and Technology Policy on the promotion of biotechnology for the development of a bio-economy for Ghana.”

Ghana’s agriculture does not need GMOs. All the independent experts agree. And there is no scientific consensus on the safety of GMOs. This is the position of independent scientists with expertise related to the subject, published in a reputed peer-reviewed scientific journal (see: https://t.co/PP917ONTfa).

According to the FDA, “Mandatory labelling regulations require food products derived wholly or partially from GMOs to be labelled in accordance with guidelines; failure to comply with regulations attracts a penalty which is usually very hefty. On the other hand, voluntary regulations provide guidelines for labelling foods derived from GMOs, however, the decision to label is taken by the food product manufacturer or distributor.” A voluntary labelling is thus out of the question.

We demand a mandatory labelling of all food products derived wholly or partially from GMOs!

And we call on the people of Ghana to join us in making this demand on the right to know what is in our food.

For Life, the Environment, and Social Justice!

Edwin Kweku Andoh Baffour
Communications Directorate, FSG
Contact: +233 207973808
E-mail : info@foodsovereigntyghana.org
Website: http://foodsovereigntyghana.org/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/FoodSovereignGH
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/FoodSovereigntyGhana

FSG WhatsApp Group (Join Us! https://t.co/z94v8Y74Fy)

June 12, 2018
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HOUSE RULES of FSG News & Updates WhatsApp Group

Join Us! Here: https://t.co/z94v8Y74Fy

1. We’ve established these House Rules for your safety and to keep the FSG News & Updates Platform a healthy environment for discussion.

2. We’ve established the following House Rules so that everyone can get the most out of participating in FSG News & Updates WhatsApp Group.

3. Please note that these also apply to multimedia submissions such as images, video and audio clips, as well as content associated with you such as avatar images.

4. We’ve established these House Rules to protect you and the FSG from legal and editorial risks. These are intended as a guide to how you should behave and post on FSG News & Updates WhatsApp Group.

5. Breach of the FSG terms of use will result in the removal of your comments. Repeated breaches will result in your removal from the group.

6. FSG welcomes feedback, both positive and negative, about our programmes and activities but please make sure your comments are in line with the House Rules. Repeatedly posting personal or offensive comments about individual members of the public or people who work for the FSG may be considered harassment. We reserve the right to remove such comments and take action against those responsible.

7. We reserve the right to fail comments which:
i. Advertise a product
ii. Using contact details of persons on the platform without their knowledge
iii. Risk breaching copyright law
iv. Risk breaking the law
v. Contain potentially defamatory statements
vi. Are abusive or disruptive
vii. Are offensive
viii. Are off-topic
viii. Contain personal details
ix. Contempt of court
x. Contain spam
xi. Contain unsuitable links
xii. Break our election and referendum rules

8. All comments are subject to Creative Commons Attribution under the following terms:
i. Attribution — You must give appropriate credit, provide a link to the license, and indicate if changes were made. You may do so in any reasonable manner, but not in any way that suggests the licensor endorses you or your use.
ii. NonCommercial — You may not use the material for commercial purposes.
iii. NoDerivatives — If you remix, transform, or build upon the material, you may not distribute the modified material.
iv. No additional restrictions — You may not apply legal terms or technological measures that legally restrict others from doing anything the license permits.

9. If your post has been removed or your account has been restricted and you do not agree that you have broken these rules, please send an email to info@foodsovereigntyghana.org for further attention.

Communications Department
Food Sovereignty Ghana | Contact Us: https://t.co/CfJwcGuShN
Email: info@foodsovereigntyghana.org
Tel: +233 207 973 808
Twitter: https://twitter.com/FoodSovereignGH
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/FoodSovereigntyGhana/
WhatsApp Group: https://t.co/z94v8Y74Fy

HANDS OFF VENEZUELA! 
In Solidarity with the Bolivarian Revolution!

May 19, 2018
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Statement of Solidarity with the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela

HANDS OFF VENEZUELA!  In Solidarity with the Bolivarian Revolution!

HANDS OFF VENEZUELA!
In Solidarity with the Bolivarian Revolution!

Food Sovereignty Ghana (FSG) marching in the streets of Accra, on this day, Saturday, 19 May, 2018,

Strongly express solidarity with the good people of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela who will be holding presidential elections tomorrow, Sunday May 20.

Reject and condemn the defamatory campaigns, threats of economic sanctions, and even of a possible military intervention by the United States in the lead up to the elections.

Reaffirm the conviction that the Presidential elections in Venezuela tomorrow, and the candidacy of Nicolas Maduro for the Frente Amplio de la Patria, (the Broad Front of the Homeland) represent one of the most important resistance struggles against imperialism in the world today.

Call for international solidarity with the people of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and their right to freely decide their own future, in peace and against imperialist violence and aggressive propaganda from the mainstream media, as they vote tomorrow.

For Life, the Environment, and Social Justice!

​Edwin Kweku Andoh Baffour
Communications Directorate, FSG
Contact: +233 207973808
E-mail : info@foodsovereigntyghana.org
Website: http://foodsovereigntyghana.org/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/FoodSovereignGH
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/FoodSovereigntyGhana

May 16, 2018
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March Against Monsanto Accra Saturday 19th May

This year's international March Against Monsanto falls on Saturday, 19th May, 2018.

This year’s international March Against Monsanto falls on Saturday, 19th May, 2018.

This year’s international March Against Monsanto falls on Saturday, 19th May, 2018.

Food Sovereignty Ghana and March Against Monsanto – Accra, have the pleasure to invite you to a march through some of the principal streets of Accra to highlight our desire for public awareness and participation in decisions regarding biotechnology in agriculture.

We strongly believe that such decisions must not be left in the hands of multi-national corporations and their local enablers using their GMOs, pesticides, herbicides, and seed monopoly lobby to influence the outcome of government policy.

We shall be assembling at Sergeant Adjetey bus stop near Artistes Alliance (La). The march begins at 7.30am. The route of the march, as notified to the police, is as follows: Starting point: Sergeant Adjetey bus stop, marching progresses through La Taxi rank – La market – Note: Education for community – Nyo Tsaana Road/La Kpanaa Road – Agus Road – New Life Road/Aklowa House Road – Kpogas Junction/Trade Fair Junction – End point: Trade Fair car parking area (Presidential Drive Way).

March Against Monsanto, is an international grassroots movement against Monsanto Corporation, in protest at the company’s practices of using their affluence to influence the outcome of legislation, regulations, research findings, media narratives, etc. The movement was founded by Tami Canal in response to the failure of California’s Proposition 37, a ballot initiative which would have required labelling of food products made from GMOs. Monsanto was reported to have poured in $7,100,500 to help narrowly defeat California’s *Proposition 37.

Advocates therefore support mandatory labelling laws for food made from GMOs. We in Ghana however support the call for labelling but since GMOs are yet to be cultivated in Ghana, we go beyond the call for labelling in demanding an indefinite moratorium on or a ban on all GM foods in Ghana! We take note of the debate going on at the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) Ghana, to introduce voluntary labelling rather than mandatory labelling of GMOs, and reiterate our demand for mandatory labelling of everything GMO in the food chain of Ghanaians.

Since our formation in 2013, FSG has marked the day without fail. The primary purpose of the march is to draw attention to our demands of the day. This year’s march comes at a time where we are yet to see the mandatory labelling of GM foods, even though a court ruling clearly told us that, “The law is that GMOs should be differentiated from organic or natural cause, and should be labelled to enable consumers know the products to take an informed decision.”

We still seem to live in a situation where our courts say there is a law, but that law appears nowhere to be found!

We are marching because even after overwhelmingly exposing the UPOV-compliant Plant Breeders’ Bill, (PBB), as too rigid, unsuitable, and illegitimate, there are still forces ignoring our call for a “sui generis’ plant protection system as required by the World Trade Organisation (WTO) to protect the intellectual property of plant breeders. These unpatriotic forces are still calling for the passage of the ill-structured Plant Breeders’ Bill without any changes!

As we prepare to march, FSG wishes to take the opportunity to salute Richard Mosiah Ababa Allen, a great comrade who embarked on a nationwide walk in January 2018. So far he has covered seven out of the ten regions in Ghana. Starting out in the Volta region he proceeded north toward Kete Krachi entering the Northern Region and continuing onto Upper East and then Upper

West. In April, he toured Brong Ahafo and he is currently in the Ashanti region. He is expected to arrive in Accra by the end of June. Richard, a free-lance researcher on Human Behaviour continues to engage a wide spectrum of Ghanaian citizens, in championing and advocating for unity and progress for our nation, through this Educational Awareness Walk dubbed the Visitation Walk. The sole intention is to walk through the whole of Ghana to raise a high awareness on important agricultural issues which have not received much attention on the national agenda. In this effort he has collaborated with Food Sovereignty Ghana (FSG) who have been at the forefront of defending Ghana and her food and agricultural systems against the introduction of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO).

We are also marching to celebrate the victories we have chalked in our advocacy in the course of the year. The most notable being the systematic defeat of the pro-GMO lobby in all debate encounters with them.

We are marching because the passionate support from an overwhelming number of Ghanaians from various backgrounds tells us that history is on our side, and agroecology, not biotechnology, is the way forward!

Please, join us on Saturday May 19th to March Against Monsanto and Bayer, as we call for sustainable policy-making in our Agriculture!

For Life, the Environment, and Social Justice!

​Edwin Kweku Andoh Baffour
Communications Directorate, FSG
Contact: +233 207973808
E-mail : info@foodsovereigntyghana.org
Website: http://foodsovereigntyghana.org/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/FoodSovereignGH
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Fo

Mr. ​Edwin Kweku Andoh Baffour
Communications Directorate, FSG, second from left, in a chat with Professor Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng, 
Minister of Environment, Science, Technology, and Innovation.

April 12, 2018
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Food Sovereignty Ghana defends position at seminar on GMO’s!

Mr. ​Edwin Kweku Andoh Baffour Communications Directorate, FSG, second from left, in a chat with Professor Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng,  Minister of Environment, Science, Technology, and Innovation.

Mr. ​Edwin Kweku Andoh Baffour
Communications Directorate, FSG, second from left, in a chat with Professor Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng,
Minister of Environment, Science, Technology, and Innovation.


Food Sovereignty Ghana (FSG) on Tuesday morning April 10 participated in a seminar organised by the National Bio Safety Authority (NBA) at the Teachers Hall in Accra.  The seminar which was under the theme: “Can Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) contribute to the socio-economic development of Ghana?” drew stakeholders from both sides of the GMO controversy. 

Members of the panel included scientists, a socio-economist, an agronomist as well as representation from civil society.  Speaking in favour of the motion, Dr Marian Quain of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) was the first to make her presentation.  She spoke on the science behind the creation of GMOs and proposed their use to tackle some of the challenges facing the nation. However she was clear that GMOs did not represent the panacea to solve all of Ghana’s agricultural problems.

FSG was next to present, citing the lack of scientific consensus on the safety of GMO’s among the scientific community as an early warning sign for Ghana to tread cautiously with regards to policy formulation. FSG stressed that the world was witnessing a phenomenal rise in demand for organic fresh produce and expressed concern at the lack of attention from policy makers to guide Ghana’s agricultural direction towards meeting the needs of these growing and lucrative markets. 

The fact that the boll worm in the USA is already documented to have developed resistance to GM maize as well as the resistance of the pink boll worm in India to GM cotton all point to a technology which despite its huge financial costs ultimately does not deliver on promises.  FSG used the example of the GM cotton experience in Burkina Faso and the fact that the shorter length of fibre which was expressed as a result of the genetic engineering did not suit the needs of the industry and thus reflected the concerns about unknown outcomes of genetic engineering.  One member of the audience questioned the competence of the technology if there was an inability for risk assessments in Burkina Faso to highlight some of these unfavourable outcomes achieved.The General Secretary of the General Agricultural Workers Union (GAWU) Mr Edward Karaweh made a solid case on how GMOs would harm agriculture and farmers livelihoods rather than solving problems. He cited the lack of access to land, credit, roads, post-harvest and irrigation technology as the real issues facing agriculture and presented convincing arguments to the audience that GMOs would not tackle these problems.  He said “they have lost the battle trying to link GMO to socioeconomic development of Ghana. GMO is not even one, not to talk about being an important solution to our development needs”Dr Gloria Addico, Head of the Technical division at the NBA spoke on the role of the regulator in managing issues on the biotechnological front.  There was a very robust question and answer session after all presentations were made where the audience sought further clarity.
One question posed was how consumers in Ghana could identify and differentiate GMO produce from natural ones.  This question led to a discussion on labelling and FSG insisted that the Food and Drugs Authority should ensure a mandatory labelling regime for all foods that may contain GMO in order to afford discerning consumers the right to choose.As Mr. Edward Kerewe put it at the end of the debate, “They have lost the battle trying to link GMO to socioeconomic development of Ghana. GMO is not even one, not to talk about being important solution to our development needs.”

For Life, the Environment, and Social Justice!​Edwin Kweku Andoh Baffour
Communications Directorate, FSGContact: +233 207973808
E-mail : info@foodsovereigntyghana.org
Website: http://foodsovereigntyghana.org/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/FoodSovereignGH
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/FoodSovereigntyGhana

 

FSG in Court 2nd April

March 28, 2018
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Appeals Court dismisses motion in favour of Food Sovereignty Ghana  

Accra, Wednesday, 28th March.
An Appeals Court in Accra has dismissed a motion filled by the counsel for the fifth defendants, the Ghana National Association of Farmers & Fisherfolk (GNAFF) for a stay of proceedings.
Food Sovereignty Ghana (FSG) appeared before the Appeal Court today March 28th to hear a motion brought forward by the Ghana National Association of Farmers & Fisherfolk (GNAFF) to effect a stay of proceedings in the Human Rights High Court concerning the case against the commercial release of GM cowpeas and GM rice, initiated on November 23, 2017 by FSG.
It would be recalled that the case, Food Sovereignty Ghana & 3 ors Vs National Biosafety Committee & 4 ors, was called on Monday March 19, 2018. This was meant to continue with proceedings in the case originally brought before it on November 23, 2017 to begin trial of the substantive issues in the case, as the case has seen some three years without action.
The 5th Defendant stated at the Court of Appeal that an earlier interlocutory ruling has technically ended the GMO suit and when so declared at the appeal, the matter ends. And prayed for an order for stay of proceedings to be granted for the High Court to stop hearing the suit.
In a passionate delivery, Plaintiffs Counsel, Lawyer Tetteh Wayoe, opposed on the solid ground that NOT ALL reliefs raised were determined by the interlocutory ruling so the matter is not determined by that ruling! He also sought damages of five thousand cedis from the GNAFF however the court eventually awarded FSG damages of two thousand cedis.
The court ruled dismissing the motion and cited the fact that there was no special circumstance that had arisen for such a stay to be granted. The court found no grounds in GNAFF’s assertion that the ruling on the 2015 injunction had determined the entire suit. The court recognized that other reliefs had been sought by the plaintiffs which were still outstanding for determination in the High Court as prayed by Plaintiffs counsel.
The parties are to return to Human Rights High Court of Accra on April 13th at 11 am for the issues raised by the parties to be set down for trial in this historic and landmark case concerning biotechnology in Ghana.
For Life, the Environment, and Social Justice!
​Edwin Kweku Andoh Baffour
Communications Directorate, FSG

Contact: +233 207973808
E-mail : info@foodsovereigntyghana.org
Website: http://foodsovereigntyghana.org/
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