US commends Ghana for passing GMO law

The US government has commended Ghana for passing the biotechnology (GMO) bill into law.

It believes that the government will now be able to meet the nutritional needs of Ghanaians and American biotechnology companies will be able to sell their seeds and agriculture products in Ghana.

The US Under Secretary, Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment, Robert D. Hormats applauded President John Evans Atta Mills for signing the bill into law.

Answering a question posed by during ‘A virtual media briefing’ via the telephone at the US Embassy in Accra  Tuesday April 17, 2012, he said the law is a very important step in giving opportunities for biotechnology to make a contribution to increasing the quality in the diets of the citizens of Ghana.

The question was, “Now that Ghana has passed the GMO law would you say the flood gates are now open for US companies to export GMOs into Ghana?”

Mr. Hormats said he believes there are ways in which Ghana can take advantage of biotechnology  to make “dramatic improvements in quality of seeds, and improve the resistance of seeds to diseases.”

According to him, the law is very well crafted, to determine what can be sold and the scientific testing of a wide range of seeds and products for approval.

“We think it’s a well crafted, very well measured bill. We  believe that biotech seeds and agriculture products can help improve the diets of Ghanaians,” he said.

He said the technology will give Ghanaians more variety, better quality and higher nutrition.

“We also know that there is a process in the bill for the government to follow to make decisions based on scientific conclusions to determine what can be sold and what can’t be sold,” he said.

Comparing Ghana to some other countries, he did not mention, he said  Ghana is way ahead in serving the interest of its citizens  by passing this law.

He said that the Ghana government is responsible and will do the right thing to help its citizens.

“We believe that American companies that produce high quality biotech foods and seeds will be able to sell in Ghana to meet the needs of Ghanaians,” he added.

President Mills gave assent to the  bill on December 31, 2011 after it has been in Parliament for four years, the GNA reported.

The Law, from the Biosafety Act, 831, 2011 will enable Ghana to allow the application of biotechnology in food crop production involving Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) to enter food production.

It will also ensure an adequate level of production in the field of safe development transfer, handling and use of GMOs that are pharmaceuticals for human use, and which are the subject of any other enactment.

It will also establish a transparent and predictable process to review and make decisions on specified GMOs that were pharmaceutical for human use.

The 28-page Act has nine Arrangements of Sections, which include Scope, Objectives and Establishment, Administration, Handling of Requests for Approvals, Reviews and Approvals, Technical Advisory Committee, Regulatory Agencies, Inspections, Finance and Miscellaneous.

It also has five schedules which include -Conduct of Business and Affairs of the Board, Information Required in Applications for Contained or Confined Use, Information Required in Applications for Release, Importation and Placing on the Market, Risk Assessment and Regulatory Agencies.

Under the new Biosafety law, a National Biosafety Authority will have to be established with the functions clearly spelt out in the Act and the makeup of the governing body.

In April 2012, Ghana’s Parliament passed a Biosafety Bill. The Bill will establish a legal framework to provide the machinery for regulating biotechnology and biosafety including genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

Meanwhile, GM corn or maize now makes about 81% of the trade in crops globally and 89% of the soybean supplied between 2009 and 2010 was from GM corn countries, despite concerns about their safety both to humans and the environment, Prof. Adelaida Harries of Iowa State University in the US has said providing figures in support.

And available data shows that international trade in GM seeds has grown to about $42 billion.

Data from the Iowa State University indicates that more than 70 countries in the world have harmonised their seed policies and regulations since 1992.

GMOs are food crops that have been injected with genomes or genes from other living organisms to make them resistant to pests, grow in some environments or produce high yields, through the scientific process known as biotechnology.

By Emmanuel K. Dogbevi

  1. Jan says

    You have made a terrible mistake. You have now sold your farmers out to technology agreements that will keep them in poverty not being able to save seed while not doing anything to give them nutrition or yield. You have been sold a bill of goods by companies only in this for profit. Ask the farmers of India about BT cotton, or those in Argentina about what the pesticides and deforestation have done to them, or even in the U.S. regarding superweeds and resistance to pesticides. How sad you chose to fold under pressure and sell out your people and environment in the process to poverty and a monoculture world.

  2. kwame says

    African leaders are incredibly gullible. This is yet another instance of Western corporation dominating an African economy. I wonder how many politicians were “dashed” to push this legislation thru. kzs

  3. Audun says

    I am not so sure if this was a smart move for Ghana…. Personally I would avoid GMOs at all cost and there are many indications of serious health hazards with GMOs. Monsanto is a good example of companies we do not need and that are not at all concerned with helping poor farmers, not even in Ghana. There is a reason Monsanto was voted the most evil corporation of the year (2011) by NaturalNews readers…

  4. Lalena says

    What a sad day for Ghana. Either Mr. Mills is uneducated about GMOs, doesn’t care about educating himself, or was paid off by the biotech devil to kill off his people. Whatever the reason for this ridiculous and depressing decision, someday he will regret this stupid, arrogant decision. In the meantime, good luck to all of you in Ghana that will now be eating fake, poisonous, pesticide laden foods just as we are forced to do here in the US. God help you all.

  5. DOMENICO says

    In Hungary, the government burned down 1000 acres of GMO and has banned GMO forever. The Peruvian government has a moratorium in place for the next 10 years. A lot of industrialised country in recognising that GMO does not have a place in our food chain supply. With GMO you will not have a food diversity like you have now. It will be one food type only per field and especially if you use Monsanto seeds and pesticides. Unfortunatlly the cost of food in your country will increase and people will starve more. Monsanto and other companies will have a patent on your seeds and a monopoly on price. Seeds will become more expensive. And your beautiful country will suffer and this move will bring more health risk. Your seeds are your the farmers, you have one of the oldest seeds on the planet for thousand of years. Why would you allow external companies to manipulate your food chain? GMO is a health risk. If the world would plant those seeds and have one type of crops, the world will starve. People should have been given a chance with the referendum to vote on this but I guess is never to late to do so. Change the law and put a stop to GMO………..

  6. Tony Osborne says

    I deplore this. I hope that the people of Ghana will realise that a terrible violation has been allowed in their country – and it will not answer the largely man-made problems that are blamed for crop failure and malnutrition. I hope that the people of Ghana will act lawfully and powerfully against this.

  7. KJ says

    WOW! Our country is now advertising for Monsanto, amazing. These people will have illnesses never seen before. Now we can prove GMO’s are not healthy; we have a whole new study group.

  8. Kathleen says

    I find it very sad that President Obama, a man of African descent, is commending Ghana for introducing poison into their food supply. Your bodies and groundwater will be infected by the herbicide Roundup and the you will suffer the consequences in poor health, disease, and early death. I hope and pray that Ghana’s government will reverse their decision.

  9. NanaIGWT says

    Arghhhh! they say Pres. Atta Mills has a proffeser degree he makes descisions like a kid. I’m hoping NPP government comes on power and stop all this nonsense and try help ourselves with what we have on soil.

  10. Pamela says

    Of course, the US commends Ghana for making this horrendous decision. The US is owned and operated by the corporations and Monsanto is one of the biggest and baddest. This is an abomination for Ghana and a celebration of their soil and groundwater becoming contaminated and toxic, their crops being subjected to increasing catastrophic failure, the costs of their food increasing dramatically and the DNA of both themselves and their animals being altered forever, leading to a radical increase in life threatening disease.

    I hope the People of Ghana will fight back and refuse to consume these toxic crops and demand that they be removed from and banned from their country!

  11. Ken says

    Just wnodering how the passage of such a bill would impact on our exports to European countries who are not pro-GMO.

  12. Garnett says

    Why are our brilliant, beautiful, Black Brothers and Sisters allowing this!?!? Blacks in Africa, have you know will power? Are you afraid of white people? I see stories like this from all over the continent…It brings tears to my eyes…What is wrong? You have all the land in the world, and yet, there are white people from America and Europe who own more land than a majority of Africans…The Ancestors are looking down on you with shame… :(((

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