Ghana must urgently place a moratorium on the cultivation, importation and consumption of genetically modified foods. We are making this appeal as a Ghanaian grass-roots food advocacy movement, after credible reports of the start of cultivation of GM seeds in the country. Our group calls for the need for Ghanaians to clearly understand the full implications associated with the cultivation of genetically modified foods before embracing the technology. Various statements from the Ministry of Agriculture, and other agencies indicate that Ghana is poised to roll out its first row of genetically modified seeds into our food chain. This is totally unacceptable. We take this opportunity to sound the warning that if Africans fail to get our act together, GM patent domination of our agriculture could be far worse than the combined effects of Apartheid, Colonialism and Slavery! Remember the words of Kissinger, “Food is a weapon”!
Ghana is a democratic and a sovereign state, and the issue of what we eat and grow affects the well-being of each and every Ghanaian. Hence there is a need for a broad consensus after a thorough, open and transparent debate before embarking on a process of gene contamination in our food chain that is absolutely irreversible. We believe that a decision of such far-reaching implications is a matter that cannot be left solely in the hands of trade negotiators, investment experts, or agricultural engineers. It is essentially a matter of political economy, public health, national security, biodiversity, and environmental sanity, in which we are all stake-holders.
All we are told is that, “There is currently not a single side effect that can be attributed to the use or consumption of GMO.” Those who are vigorously making these assurances however oppose any attempt to the study of any possible side effects.They are against all forms of labelling. So, if after eating any food that is genetically modified and one dies of a heart attack, there is no way of directly linking it to the culprit, simply because it is not labelled! People can eat and die a painful death from cancer whilst Monsanto’s shareholders keep smiling to the bank. After vigorously resisting any attempts at labelling, which make it impossible to trace the long-term effects of their foods by humans, they are now claiming, “There is currently not a single side effect that can be attributed to the use or consumption of GMO”!
We conclude this statement with a quote from George Monbiot, as food for thought and action.
Organic Farming Will Feed the World
“We have, in other words, been deceived. Traditional farming has been stamped out all over the world not because it is less productive than monoculture, but because it is, in some respects, more productive. Organic cultivation has been characterised as an enemy of progress for the simple reason that it cannot be monopolised: it can be adopted by any farmer anywhere on earth, without the help of multinational companies. Though it is more productive to grow several species or several varieties of crops in one field, the biotech companies must reduce diversity in order to make money, leaving farmers with no choice but to purchase their most profitable seeds. This is why they have spent the last ten years buying up seed breeding institutes and lobbying governments to do what ours has done: banning the sale of any seed which has not been officially – and expensively – registered and approved.”