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!
Deputy Chairperson, FSG