The grant also seeks to support the forum to create an enabling environment for agricultural biotechnology which would allow for the testing and delivery of innovative tools to help farmers enhance their food security and create wealth for their families and nations.
Ms Sherry Ayittey, Minister of Environment, Science and Technology, announced the grant at the forum’s 5th Anniversary commemoration workshop in Accra.
She described biotechnology as a vital tool used extensively in agriculture globally over the decades which had contributed immeasurably to food security in Africa.
Professor Walter Sandow Alhassan, Coordinator for Africa Biosafety and Biotechnology Policy Platform, noted that despite the increasing global trends in the use of modern biotechnology for agriculture, the rate of its adoption in Africa was slow.
He noted that: “Biotechnology has delivered substantial benefits to farmers around the world but Africa still lags behind in exploiting its potential partly due to lack of an enabling environment for the development and use of agricultural biotechnology.
“But inadequate awareness creation, lack of biotechnology related legislation, poor infrastructure and insufficient financial support for agricultural research has hindered the use of biotechnology”.
He therefore called on governments across Africa to provide enabling legislation and fast track mechanism for a science-led review of biosafety applications.
The Open Forum for Agricultural Biotechnology in Africa (OFAB) is a platform that provides an opportunity for biotechnology stakeholders to network, share knowledge and experiences, and explores new avenues of bringing the benefits of biotechnology to the African farmer and investor.