Food Sovereignty Ghana

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

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April 16, 2014
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Awam Food! Awam Regulators!! Awam Representatives!!!!

It is exactly one week ago since we raised the alarm that genetically modified corn and soya from the USA are most certainly being sold freely to Ghanaians as “all natural” products. One would have expected the Food and Drugs Administration to be proactive and come out to say something about this. The silence is amazing. Thursday, 17th April, 2014 is the International Day of Peasant Struggle, commemorating the massacre of 19 peasants struggling for land and justice in Brazil in 1996. We intend to mark this day to hammer home our point.

Every year on that day actions take place around the world in defence of peasants and small-scale farmers struggling for their rights. This year’s anniversary, April 17th is rightfully dubbed: International Day of Farmers’ Struggles in defence of Peasants’ and Farmers’ Seeds. We intend to use this occasion to reiterate our call for a moratorium or complete ban on GM foods, and the introduction of GMOs into our food chain. We see this as an unnecessary threat to public health, integrity of our water resources, air, and the natural environment.

Food Sovereignty Ghana in collaboration with the Centre for Indigenous Knowledge on Organization Development, Peasant Farmers Associations, Coalition for Farmers Rights and Advocacy Against GMOs, COFAM, and other civil society organizations is starting a grass-roots farmers mobilization around the issues of the Plant Breeders bill, The Seed And Fertilizer Act and the Biosafety Act. We are of the strongest opinion that the implementation of these pieces of legislation will:

1. Damage, undermine, and criminalize traditional farming practices and hurt the public interest. These laws will encourage misappropriation of Ghana’s genetic resources as well as ensure the inequitable sharing of benefits and legalize outright theft of local crop germplasm for the benefit of foreign corporations.

2. Pre-empt the laws of Ghana and prevent farmers from freely saving, using, and sharing seed from season to season as they have always done. The ultimate result of the bill will be to put Ghana’s food supply into the hands of foreign corporations. GMOs are bullets aimed at the heart of Ghana and the Plant Breeders ’Bill serves as the cross-hairs enabling foreign corporations to directly target Ghana. The objective is to disable the ability of Ghanaians to legally challenge anything relating to GMO imposition.

3. Confirm our contention that the Plant Breeders’ Bill currently at the Consideration Stage before our Parliament is all about the imposition of genetically modified organisms into our food chain without public awareness, discussion, or public participation in that decision.

The immediate aim for the mobilization of these farmers is towards the commemoration of April 17 as International Farmers Day For the Protection of Seed.

Let’s unite and fight:
To stop land grabbing and reclaim grabbed land – the land should be in the hands of tillers.

To implement genuine agrarian reform in order to bring about social justice in rural areas.

To end the control over billions of people’s lives exercised by a few investors and transnational companies.

To oppose the principles of “responsible agricultural investment” (RAI) proposed by the World Bank as it can never be “responsible” for investors and corporations to grab farmers’ land.

To strengthen the agriculture production model based on family farming and food sovereignty.

We do hereby take advantage of this release to invite you all to join us and the Coalition for Farmers Rights and Advocacy Against GMOs to embark on public awareness campaign at the Kaneshie Market this, Thursday at 10am in commemoration of April 17 as International Day of Peasant Struggle.

For Life, The Environment, and Social Justice!
Duke Tagoe
Deputy Chairperson, FSG
Website: http://foodsovereigntyghana.org/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/FoodSovereignGH
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/FoodSovereigntyGhana

2014-01-28 09.40.47

April 15, 2014
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Statement: Anti-GMO Picket At The Kaneshie Market

April 17th: International Day of Farmers’ Struggles in defence of Peasants’ and Farmers’ Seeds!

The Coalition for Farmers Rights and Advocacy Against GMOs will embark on a picket of the Kaneshie Market this Thursday at 10am, April 17 as part of the activities marking this year’s International Day of Farmers’ Struggles in defence of Peasants’.

Every year on that day actions take place around the world in defence of peasants and small-scale farmers struggling for their rights. This year’s anniversary, April 17th is rightfully dubbed: International Day of Farmers’ Struggles in defence of Peasants’ and Farmers’ Seeds. We intend to use this occasion to reiterate our call for a moratorium or complete ban on GM foods, and the introduction of GMOs into our food chain. We see this as an unnecessary threat to public health, integrity of our water resources, air, and the natural environment.

April 17 is the International Day of Peasant Struggle, commemorating the massacre of 19 peasants struggling for land and justice in Brazil in 1996. This activity marks the beginning of a collaboration between Food Sovereignty Ghana, COFAM, the Centre for Indigenous Knowledge on Organization Development, Peasant Farmers Associations and other civil society organizations is starting a grass-roots farmers mobilization around the issues of the Plant Breeders bill, The Seed And Fertilizer Act and the Biosafety Act.

Let’s unite to:

To stop land grabbing and reclaim grabbed land – the land should be in the hands of tillers.

To implement genuine agrarian reform in order to bring about social justice in rural areas.

To end the control over billions of people’s lives exercised by a few investors and transnational companies.

To oppose the principles of “responsible agricultural investment” (RAI) proposed by the World Bank as it can never be “responsible” for investors and corporations to grab farmers’ land.

To strengthen the agriculture production model based on family farming and food sovereignty.

We invite everyone who can make it, to make it a point to meet us in front of the Kaneshie Market Complex, at 10am.

For Life, the Environment, and Social Justice!

Duke Tagoe Deputy Chairperson,

2014-01-28 09.38.17

April 7, 2014
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Why Are GM Foods Being Sold In Ghana Without Labels?

Food products such as soya and corn, imported from the USA, containing GMO ingredients are being sold to unsuspecting Ghanaian consumers without labels indicating contents. Far from warning the consumer with the appropriate caveat emptor, about the presence of GMOs some of these suspected GMO products on our markets even carry the label “all natural”! We hereby wish to bring this to the attention of the authorities to explain the rules governing the importation of GM foods into the country, and the rules concerning labels.

Over 90% of corn and soya in the USA is genetically modified, even though they are sold without any labels.“Natural” is one of the words these multinationals use to disguise their GM products. In fact the agribusiness industry is actually trying to write labelling legislation for the US Congress that uses the word natural to include GM. As of now natural has no legal definition in the US regarding food. So people and corporations can use it to mean anything they want, and do.

It was recently in the news a few weeks ago, that, Debbie Banafsheha, a California woman filed a putative consumer class action Monday, 17th March, 2014, against H.J. Heinz Co., alleging the company violated state and federal law when it falsely advertised its white vinegar as “all natural” even though the product derives from genetically modified corn.

The reasons why these corporations are avoiding labelling is because they do not want to be held liable for any possible negative effects arising from its use. Where there is no traceability, there is no accountability, where there is no accountability, there is no liability, and where there is no liability, there is no safety.  The agribusiness corporations have covered themselves well to protect themselves from liability by persuading Ghana to pass, against Ghanaian interests, the Biosafety Act, the Seed Law, and the latest of this trio, the Plant Breeders Bill. These legally put agribusiness corporations above the laws of Ghana.

There is another critical reason the agribusiness corporations do not want GMO labelling.  Consumers in every country reject GMO products.  Farmers reject GMO seeds.  Nobody wants GMO.  It is only by sneaking GMOs into the market without consumer knowledge that the corporations can be successful in pushing their unsafe products.

It is very important that GM foods are properly labelled, if they are to be allowed into the country. For instance, GM soya from the USA are imported into Europe strictly for animal feed. It is banned for human consumption. It therefore matters a lot if the same GM soya ends up on our shelves for human consumption! A simple walk through HP Ghana Ventures Ltd., will show you soya imported directly from the United States. Some of these include “Kirkland Signature Soymilk Vanilla”, “Vanilla Silk Soymilk”.

In addition to the soya, there are also suspicious corn products such as “Kirkland Signature Microwave Popcorn”,“Melville Corn Flakes”, “Kiggins Corn Flakes Toasted Corn Cereal”, and “Carlini All Natural Pure Corn Oil”. What makes this alarming is that all corn/maize products exported from the USA are almost certainly GM. It is close to impossible to find corn in the US that is not GM.  When farmers try to grow non-GM corn, their fields are contaminated by GM pollen.  The same is true of the soy as well.  GM plants are pesticide plants.  They are designed to contain pesticide in every cell, or to absorb massive doses of pesticides to all their cells.   They are pesticide cocktails being sold as food and beverages to unsuspecting consumers.

It will be impossible to provide an exhaustive list of all the products we suspect to be GMOs. Our point is to re-iterate our call for a moratorium on the importation of GM foods, or at the very least to uphold the consumers’ right to know what is in their food. This is a requirement of the Convention on Biological Diversity, CBD, which calls for public awareness and participation in the release of GMOs into the environment for impacts on health, the environment and SEC (socio-economic considerations). Ghana is a signatory.

After intensive and extensive deliberations, involving independent scientists from across the world, about what is required to regulate the safe release of GMOs into the environment, the CBD upheld the “Precautionary Principle”. The January 29, 2000 Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety says, in regard to controversies over GMOs: “Lack of scientific certainty due to insufficient relevant scientific information . . . shall not prevent the Party of import, in order to avoid or minimize such potential adverse effects, from taking a decision, as appropriate, with regard to the import of the living modified organism in question.”

Employment of the ‘Precautionary Principle’is a necessary safeguard to protect Ghana and Africa small-holder farming, her food security, health, sovereignty and environment from irreversible adverse impacts of GMOs. We want to eat food, not its “substantial equivalent” or genomes of organisms that have been transformed through laboratory techniques, including genetically engineered DNA (recombinant) and their direct introduction into cells! It is only proper to ask the authorities to make sure that those selling such dangerous products do so with a warning similar to what we see on cigarettes indicating, at least, that GMOs have the potential to cause unintended effects.

It should be common knowledge that “(t)he Biosafety Protocol makes clear that products from new technologies must be based on the precautionary principle and allow developing nations to balance public health against economic benefits. It will for example let countries ban imports of a genetically modified organism if they feel there is not enough scientific evidence the product is safe, and require exporters to label shipments containing genetically modified commodities such as corn or cotton.”

The very fact that this is happening at a time Ghanaians are weighing the arguments as to whether to eat or not to eat GM foods, makes this sinister attempt to clandestinely sell GM foods to Ghanaians most shocking indeed. We hold the view that this sinister attempt to surreptitiously replace our food, obtained from tens of thousands of centuries through traditional breeding and selection, with genetically engineered foods of unknown effects and consequences, and hiding this from the consumer ought to be a criminal offence. We hereby make an urgent call on our dear country’s regulatory authorities not to sleep on the job.

For Life, The Environment, and Social Justice!

Duke Tagoe
Deputy Chairperson, FSG
Website: http://foodsovereigntyghana.org/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/FoodSovereignGH
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/FoodSovereigntyGhana

 

April 2, 2014
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AFSA STRONGLY CONDEMNS SLEIGHT OF HAND MOVES BY ARIPO TO JOIN UPOV 1991, BYPASS NATIONAL LAWS AND OUTLAW FARMERS RIGHTS

PRESS RELEASE FROM ALLIANCE FOR FOOD SOVEREIGNTY IN AFRICA

Addis Ababa, Accra 3 April 2014

The Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa (AFSA)[1] stronglycondemns the move by the African Regional Intellectual Property Organisation (ARIPO) to join UPOV 1991, which will effectively outlaw the centuries-old African farmers’ practice of freely using, exchanging and selling seeds/propagating material. These practices underpin 90% of the agricultural system within the ARIPO region.[2]

AFSA has learnt that the Secretary General of ARIPO, on 6 March 2014, requested the UPOV Council to consider the Draft ARIPO Protocol for the Protection of Plant Varieties  (‘Draft Protocol’) for its conformity with the UPOV 1991 Convention[3]. If at the UPOV meeting to be held in Geneva on 11 April 2014, the UPOV Council decides that the Draft Protocol is indeed in conformity with UPOV 1991, and that ARIPO member states that ratify the Draft Protocol can join UPOV 1991, the implications will be far reaching.  

According to Duke Tagoe from Food Sovereignty Ghana, a grassroots movement aggressively and successfully opposing Ghana’s Plant Variety Protection Bill, “this will mean that our government in Ghana, who has been struggling to pass our Plant Variety Protection (PVP) Bill because of local resistance that it is based on UPOV 1991, can simply dump our national processes and disregard farmer’ rights, ratify the ARIPO Protocol and become a UPOV 1991 member, all in one foul swoop. This is wholly unconstitutional, violates the rule of law and is totally outrageous.”

According to Mariam Mayet of the African Centre for Biosafety, an AFSA member, “ARIPO is acting way beyond its legal mandate. Furthermore, we are of the firm view that this move by ARIPO is inviolation of several African regional instruments, including and especially the fundamental rights and freedoms protected by the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights. We will seek the necessary redress in this regard.”

AFSA has made several submissions to ARIPO detailing its many concerns with the content of the Draft Protocol, which is based onUPOV 1991, and the bias and lack of transparency in the accompanying processes[4]. These concerns have fallen on deaf ears. In this regard, AFSA has warned ARIPO and its member states that UPOV 1991 is a wholly inappropriate, inflexible and restrictive regime designed for developed countries (particularly European nations) and the development of large-scale commercial farming and breeding focused on producing uniform plant varieties. Such a “one-size-fits-all” regime is unsuitable for African conditions, particularly for the “Least Developed Countries”, which make up the majority of ARIPO members.

According to Dr Million Belay, AFSA Coordinator, “We are appalled by the provisions of ARIPO’s draft protocol based on UPOV 1991, that forbid farmers from freely exchanging or selling farm-saved seed/propagating material even in circumstances wherebreeders’ interests are not affected (e.g. small amounts or local rural trade). Use of farm-saved seeds on a farmer’s own holdings is allowed only for certain crops and this too may be subject to the payment of royalties to the breeder. Further, farmers will be required to provide information to breeders on the use of farm-saved seed.  This is totally unacceptable.”

 The informal seed system prevailing in ARIPO member states is the primary source of subsistence, employment and income for the majority of the population in the ARIPO region, which consists mainly of the rural poor. About 80-90% of all seed used in the ARIPO region originates from the informal seed system (i.e. from farm-savedseed, exchanges, barter and local markets) independent of whether farmers cultivate local or modern varieties. According to Dr Belay, “The proposed draft protocol dismisses the millions of smallholders in ARIPO member states who depend on agriculture for their livelihoods, with the vast majority using farm-saved seed to ensure their food security. ARIPO appears to be intent on handing over our food and seedsovereignty to foreign corporations, reducing the availability of local plant varieties, weakening our rich biodiversity, and denying millions of farmers the right to breed, share and sell farm saved seed needed to feed their families and sustain livelihoods.”

 AFSA demands that UPOV member states not allow ARIPO to join UPOV 1991 and that the Draft Protocol be sent back to the drawing board; that ARIPO consult with smallholders; and, especially, that it discuss appropriate seed laws for Africa, with the obligation of protecting biodiversity, farmers’ rights and overall ecological productivity entrenched as a primary objective.

Ends

 Notes to Editors:

·      A positive ruling by the UPOV Council in favour of the Draft Protocol being in compliance with UPOV 1991 will most likely result in the Draft Protocol being adopted as a final Protocol at an ARIPO Diplomatic Conference to be held later this year.

·The ARIPO PVP Protocol will come into force when only four member states of ARIPO ratify the Protocol, and any of these members will be able to join UPOV 1991, even if that member does not have a national PVP law in place, in the eventthat the UPOV Council deciding that member states of ARIPO who ratify the Protocol can join UPOV 1991.

Contact:

 Dr Millon Belay, Coordinator AFSA Email: millionbelay@gmail.com

Mr Duke Tagoe, Food Sovereignty Ghana Email: dukezulu@yandex.com Tel: +233 277776686/ +233 265743484

Ms Mariam Mayet, Email Mariam@acbio.org.za


 [1] The Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa is a pan-African platform that represents small-scale farmers, pastoralists, hunter/gatherers, indigenous peoples, citizens and environmentalists from Africa. It comprises networks and farmer organisations working in Africa including the African Biodiversity network (ABN), Coalition for the Protection of African GeneticHeritage (COPAGEN), Comparing and Supporting Endogenous Development (COMPAS) Africa, Friends of the Earth-Africa, Indigenous Peoples of Africa Coordinating Committee (IPACC), Participatory Ecological Land Use Management (PELUM) Association, Eastern and Southern African Small Scale Farmers Forum (ESAFF), La Via Campesina Africa, FAHAMU, World Neighbours, Network of Farmers’ and Agricultural Producers’ Organizations of West Africa (ROPPA), Community Knowledge Systems (CKS) and Plate forme Sous Régionale des Organisations Paysannes d’Afrique Centrale (PROPAC).

[2] The African Regional Intellectual Property Organisation, ARIPO was mainly established to pool the resources of its member countries in industrial property matters. The following countries are members of ARIPO: Botswana, Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Rwanda, Somalia, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe (Total: 18 Member States). 

[3] International Convention for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants of December 2, 1961, as revised at Geneva on November 10, 1972, on October 23, 1978, and March 19, 1991.

[4] Submission by African CSOs to ARIPO on its Draft PVP Law and Policies, November 2012 http://www.acbio.org.za/images/stories/dmdocuments/CSOconcernsonARIPO-PVPframework.pdf.

AFSA’s Comments on ARIPO’s Response to Civil Society: Draft Legal Framework for Plant Variety Protection, March 2014. http://www.acbio.org.za/images/stories/dmdocuments/AFSA-letter-ARIPO-March2014%20.pdf.

Lobby bills

March 12, 2014
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Are Multi National Corporations Paying Our MPs To Pass The Plant Breeders Bill?

Food Sovereignty Ghana calls on Parliament to explain to Ghanaians the rules and ethics of lobbying currently being applied in the country. Hon. Alban Bagbin, Chairperson of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, the committee considering the Plant Breeders Bill, stated that MPs take bribes to pass laws through Parliament as reported by the Daily Graphic of Monday March 10, 2014.

We take notice of the report that Mr. Bagbin told a STAR Ghana sponsored workshop at the weekend that “the reality is that MPs are Ghanaians and there is evidence that some MPs take bribes and come to the floor and try to articulate the views of their sponsors.”

It is obvious that where there are no laid down prescribed rules and procedures corruption could set in, and bad laws could be passed in favour of the sponsors, to the detriment of Ghanaians. We are especially alarmed at the attempts by the committee chaired by Mr Babgin, to re-introduce the Plant Breeders Bill to the floor of parliament without any consideration of the petitions sent to parliament by civil society about the Bill, as was directed by the speaker of Parliament, Rt Hon Doe Adjaho. And without any consideration of public opinion.

Mr. Bagbin stressed the situation obtains “because in Ghana we have not developed what we call lobbying. There are rules; there are ethics regarding lobbying and we in Ghana think that lobbying is taking money, giving it to MPs and writing pieces for them to go articulate on the floor. That is bribery.”

So far, subsequent news reports indicate that Mr. Bagdbin has denied the story as being misquoted “completely”. What is not clear is what he is actually denying. Is he denying the fact that he said “MPs are Ghanaians”? Or the fact that he said, “there is evidence that some MPs take bribes and come to the floor and try to articulate the views of their sponsors”? Or, ” that the practice had persisted because of the lack of laid-down rules and ethics on lobbying in the country”?

The best way to avoid the negative effects of such active lobbying of Parliament by foreign multinational corporations and governments, is public scrutiny, and transparency. We do not see any reason why the minutes of our meeting with Parliament must be denied to us the public! It is once more a confirmation of our contention that the Plant Breeders’ Bill currently at the Consideration Stage before our Parliament is all about the imposition of genetically modified organisms into our food chain without public awareness, discussion, or public participation in that decision.

Far from simply dealing with the rights of the plant breeder, the Bill is designed to pre-empt the laws of Ghana and prevent farmers from freely saving, using, and sharing seed from season to season as they have always done. The ultimate result of the bill will be to put Ghana’s food supply into the hands of foreign corporations. GMOs are bullets aimed at the heart of Ghana and the Plant Breeders ’Bill serves as the cross-hairs enabling foreign corporations to directly target Ghana. The objective is to disable the ability of Ghanaians to legally challenge anything relating to GMO imposition.

The Bill also lacks safeguards that are important to protect traditional farming practices and public interests and to prevent misappropriation of Ghana’s genetic resources as well as to ensure fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from the utilization of local germplasm.

So far, the Bill has been developed without consultations with the wider civil society and smallholder farmer community. And currently, as it stands, the Bill is inconsistent with Ghana’s obligations under the Convention on Biological Diversity and the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture.

Are Multi National Corporations paying our MPs to fast track and pass the Plant Breeders Bill, without public awareness and participation?

Duke Tagoe
Deputy Chairperson, FSG
Website: http://foodsovereigntyghana.org/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/FoodSovereignGH
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/FoodSovereigntyGhana

February 28, 2014
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COMMUNIQUÉ: FSG Workshop On GMOs, Seed Laws, And Biosafety.

28th February, 2014
Food Sovereignty Ghana organized a capacity building and skills sharing workshop on 27th-28th February to discuss the Biosafety Law, the Plant Breeders bill and the Plant and Fertilizer Act (seed law). Civil society organizations, smallholder farmers, the media, scientists and concerned members of the public attended the meeting.

Ghana’s Plant Breeders’ Bill

The workshop discussed the key features of the Bill, noting that the Bill is modeled on the 1991 Convention of the International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV). It was noted that few developing countries are members of UPOV and of these most are members of UPOV 1978 and not UPOV 1991. It also emerged that the 1991 Convention is a restrictive and an inflexible regime that does not allow Ghana to develop a legal framework for plant variety protection that suits the agricultural conditions prevailing in Ghana.

The intellectual property agreement in the World Trade Organization (known as the “TRIPS Agreement) allows Ghana to develop a “sui generis” (of its own kind) system for plant variety protection. Ghana should use this flexibility to develop a plant variety protection/plant breeders’ regime that suits its national conditions as many developing countries have done. The bill pending in the Parliament fails to do that.

The Bill is unbalanced and inequitable. It strengthens breeders’ rights and does not reflect the interests and needs of the smallholder farmers that are the backbone of Ghana’s agricultural system. Breeders of new, distinct, uniform and stable varieties are given extensive rights under the Bill. On the other hand, the Bill does not accommodate the specific characteristics of farmer varieties and nor does it contain specific provisions that safeguards the interests of smallholder farmers such as their right to freely use, save, sell and exchange farm saved seeds.

The Bill only states that the Minister shall in making regulations take into account the need to safeguard the legitimate interests of breeders and to permit farmers to make “personal use on their own holdings” of farm saved seed. This is a very limited provision and it is simply unacceptable that it does not safeguard the interests of millions of smallholder farmers in Ghana.

It is also equally unacceptable that the Bill places the burden of enforcing the private rights of breeder on the state and taxpayer by criminalizing infringement of breeders’ rights.

The Bill also lacks safeguards that are important to protect public interests and to prevent misappropriation of Ghana’s genetic resources as well as to ensure fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from the utilization of local germplasm.

The workshop also noted that the Bill has been developed without consultations with the wider civil society and smallholder farmer community.

The workshop noted that the Bill is inconsistent with Ghana’s obligations under the Convention on Biological Diversity and the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture.

Ghana’s Biosafety Act

Ghana’s Biosafety Act is often referred to as the worst such law on the continent as it contravenes several provisions of the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety, an international environmental agreement to which Ghana is Party. This Protocol was negotiated by the international community to regulate genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in recognition that this technology is new and poses risks to the environment, human health and society.

The Ghana Biosafety Act allows the regulatory agency to grant exemptions that undermine the risk assessment and public consultation processes of the Biosafety Protocol. It also ensures that independent oversight of GMOs is near impossible by seriously limiting public access to information and participation in decision-making. The Ghanaian Act represents a permitting system to allow foreign corporations to sell their product rather than a Biosafety System designed to protect the health, environment and socio-economic well-being of Ghanaians. GMOs are designed for large-scale industrial farmers and have no place in Ghana’s agricultural system, which is based on small-holder farmers.

Ghana’s Plant and Fertilizer Act

Ghana’s Plants and Fertilizer Act, 2010, Act 83 in Part Two deals with seed regulation. It promotes/supports only industrial plant breeding and does not deal with smallholder farmer managed seed systems, the need for the conservation of land races and traditional varieties and ignores farmers’ rights. The entire orientation of the law is towards genetically uniform, commercially bred varieties in terms of seed quality control and variety registration. It creates an exclusive seed market for certified improved, commercial varieties of seed and excludes farmer varieties from this marketing system. The market for registered seed is not for African farmer breeders but for multinational companies. The implementation of this Act will result in the total marginalization of small farmers and their needs and is also setting the stage for thousands of small elite farmers who will be drawn into seed certification systems, which can later also be used for GM seed production in the near future.

Duke Tagoe
Deputy Chairperson, FSG

Nana Ansah Kwaw

February 23, 2014
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“GMO debate: why do we want to fly while we are still crawling?” – Nana Ansah Kwaw

That’s my opinion @ 2pm

On the 20th of February 2014, Ghana once more heard the verdict of a journalist who has been interviewing FSG, Prof. Walter S. Alhassan, politicians, and all manner of people from both sides of the debate.

In his weekly show, “That’s My Opinion”, he came out clearly against the Plant Breeder’s Bill, and GMOs in general.

This is not the first time a journalist is taking a position after listening to both sides of the debate. A similar event occurred after a Media Event organised by the Graphic Corporation in which FSG was represented by our able Lawyer, Mr. John Opoku. The pro-GM team was led by Professor Walter Sandow Alhassan himself.

Also, just like Nana Ansah Kwaw, all the 20 journalists, after listening to the two sides of the argument, unanimously resolved to petition Parliament not to pass the Plant Breeder’s Bill in its present form. They did. And it contributed to the decision by Parliament to refer the matter to the “Leadership of the House.

It is great to listen to the force of Nana Ansah Kwaw’s argument. It’s brilliance and at the same time, simplicity. We shall endeavour to bring the audio out soon!

Ghana News – GMO debate: why do we want to fly while we are still crawling? – That’s my opinion @ 2pm http://www.myjoyonline.com/news/2014/February-20th/gmo-debate-why-do-we-want-to-fly-while-we-are-still-crawling-thats-my-opinion-2pm.php

Bravo, Nana Ansah Kwaw!