Food Sovereignty Ghana

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

Atikpo Flails Away, Never Lands A Blow On Shiva

IMG_9790By Food Sovereignty Ghana
Dr. Atikpo and OFAB appear brilliant at building straw men to argue against and tear down with much ferocity.  Unfortunately they do not address the points made by Dr. Shiva regarding GMOs.  They do not address the real dangers of GMOs to Ghana or to the people who live here.  Nor do they address the expressed concerns of Ghanaian farmers and citizens.  They ignore Ghanaians who care about the sovereignty and independence of our beloved Ghana.

Dr. Atikpo and OFAB claim that GMOs are not toxic.  There are two aspects to the question of toxicity. Dr. Atikpo addresses neither of them and instead batters away at her straw man.  We know very little about GMOs themselves because the corporations that own the patents do not permit independent testing. What effects GMOs have on our bodies, what effects they may have over time or that may be inherited through us to successive generations, are not known.

The effects GMOs may have on the environment, on the plants, animals, soil, water, air, have not been explored.  The evidence we have so far is not reassuring.  The corporations that own the GMO patents work very hard to keep them from being researched or becoming known.   They are so afraid of potential problems that they do not even want GMO products labelled GMO.  This is the true anti-science position.

The extreme and known toxicity of GMOs is due to GMO plants being pesticide plants. GMO plants are saturated with pesticides. GMO crops vastly increase the use of pesticides. Even though the corporations holding GMO patents try to hide and obscure this fact, much is known about the toxic effects of pesticides.

GMO crops are genetically engineered to have pesticide such as Bt in every cell of the plant, or to absorb huge amounts of applied herbicides without being killed. When we consume the plants, or eat animals that consume the plants, we consume quantities of these pesticides that can injure our heart, lungs, organs, nerves, digestion, blood, skin, immunity, and sexual function and development.

When you eat a genetically modified food crop you are eating pesticides. When you wear genetically modified fibre you have toxin resting on your skin.

Research is piling up showing just how deadly these chemical cocktails can be on all the systems of our bodies, on the growing bodies of our children, and on the development of our unborn babies. Allergies, diseases, birth defects, damages to all the organ systems of the body, even autism have been linked to toxic pesticides.  GMOs are designed in the laboratory so that they require these chemicals in order to grow.  Do you want these chemicals sprayed and spread through Ghana, on our food and on our families?  Does your MP want you fed and sprayed with pesticides?

GMOs threaten Ghana’s independence as a nation.  Dr. Shiva warned us that GMOs mean seed colonization and seed slavery.  This is the massive looming threat that Dr. Atikpo and OFAB completely ignore.  The straw men they build and attack so vigorously are constructed to hide this massive danger.  Dr. Atikpo and her cronies are dishonest about the toxicity of GMOs, and try to use the toxicity issue to distract our attention away from the GMO threat to our freedom and the GMO theft of our seed DNA heritage.

The Plant Breeders Bill is part of a foreign corporate plan developed by the G8 and engineered by USAID to control all of Ghana’s agriculture.  Parliament has met with the Americans and ignored Ghanaians.

So far Ghana’s Presidents and MPs of both the dominant political parties are going along with this plan. The long term intention of these corporations is that every seed that is planted in Ghana will be owned by the giant agribusiness corporations.  They will own the intellectual property rights to every seed.  Farmers will have to buy seeds from them for whatever they want to charge.  In India seed prices have risen as much as 8000%.  Farmers who save seeds will have to pay royalties to corporations if they want to plant their saved seeds.

The Agribusiness corporations can take the DNA, the germplasm of Ghana’s seeds into their laboratories, patent the seeds, and then charge Ghanaian farmers for the same seed germplasm Ghanaians have painstakingly developed over decades and centuries.  This is biopiracy.  Ghanaian seed breeders will be left out.  They do not have the resources to compete with the multinational corporations.

The Plant Breeders Bill puts the multinational corporations above the laws of Ghana, making it impossible for Ghana’s government to protect our agricultural wealth from these predators or protect our farmers and citizens from their predations.

With the Plant Breeders Bill enacted, only those seeds produced and sold by foreign corporations will be available to plant.  The rich diversity of Ghana’s crops and seeds, our best protection against climate change, will be lost.  Our food supply, what we eat and whether we eat, even the use of our water and soil, will be at the mercy of foreign corporations.  The decisions of those corporations are based on how much money and resources they can extract from Ghana.  Whether we live or die is a matter of indifference to them.  That is what Dr. Shiva means by colonization and seed slavery.  Do we want colonization and slavery returning to Ghana’s shores?

The only constituencies supporting the Plant Breeders Bill are the MPs that seem determined to pass it regardless of how it impacts Ghana, the American Embassy, and some Ghanaian academics and researchers whose funding is likely to depend on the GMO agribusiness corporations. Based on all their public utterances, Ghana’s MPs have done nothing to address the concerns in the various petitions to Parliament regarding the Plant Breeders Bill.   Short of massive national and international attention, they may go ahead and pass the Bill!  They appear to us to be completely ignoring Ghana’s best interests and Ghanaian public opinion.

If your MP is thinking of voting for the Plant Breeders Bill, if your MP ignores Ghanaians and votes for the Plant Breeders Bill, you do not want that person representing you in Parliament. When the announcement was made in Parliament during the sitting on Thursday, 19th June, by the 1st Deputy Speaker, Hon. Ebow Burton-Oduro, Hon. Musaka Mubarak, NDC MP for Asawaso, and Majority Chief Whip, rose to his feet to declare that the Committee would present an “oral report”. Is our Parliament trying to tell Ghanaians, they do not even need to properly let us know whether or not the petitions make any sense to them? And if not why? Is our Parliament trying to tell Ghanaians, they do not even need to properly let us know whether they hear the petitions or respect the petitioners?” Contact your MP and tell them to defeat the Plant Breeders Bill!

For Life, The Environment, and Social Justice!

Jason Tutu
Member, Communications Department
Food Sovereignty Ghana.
Contact: 0540113569