The Minister of Environment, Science and Technology, Ms Sherry Ayitey, has said a National Biosafety Authority (NBA) would soon be established to regulate and oversee the application of modern biotechnology in Ghana.
He said the NBA is under the Biosafety Law which was passed to ensure an adequate level of production in the field of safe development transfer, handling and use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) for agricultural and industrial activities.
Ms Ayitey made this known on Tuesday at the first Applied Research Conference in Africa (ARCA) held in Elmina on the theme “The significance of research and development in nation building”.
Reseachers from Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, South Africah and others from Europe and Asia are attending the three-day Conference organized by the Alumni of the Kwame-Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) with the Cape Coast Chapter hosting.
She said the government had a responsibility of ensuring that the application of science and technology was done within a framework that guarantees the safety and quality of life of all, adding that, it was in performing that duty that the Biosafety Act 831 of 2011 was passed.
Ms Ayitey said in West Africa, Burkina Faso was using biotechnology for farming particularly in cotton and vegetable production while Egypt, Kenya, South Africa and a few other African countries were already deploying genetic engineering in agriculture in various ways.
The Minister outlined waste management and poor sanitation as problems facing the environmental sector, which must receive apt attention and that the World Bank estimated that the impact of the cost of poor hygiene and sanitation on the economy of Ghana is $290 million per year or the equivalent of 1.6% of GDP or $12.2 per capita.
She called on the scientific institutions in Africa to double their efforts and collaborate with other bodies to take a hard look at these solvable problems and solve them to improve the quality of human life in Africa.