Farmers educated on modern biotechnology

farmer_1Representatives of farmer- based organizations in the Eastern Region have advocated that any technology that sought to increase agricultural productivity should involve structures that would ensure ready market to match productivity.

According to them since business is run on demand and supply basis any attempt to increase supply without a correlating effect on demand, would not be in the best interest of farmers.

The farmers noted that over the years several interventions of modern technology in increasing production were brought to their doorsteps yet they did not realize the full benefits because, they were not tied to ready market leading to farm losses.

These observations were made at a Regional session for farmers by the Open Forum on Agricultural Biotechnology (OFAB) in Africa, to educate farmers about the benefits of modern biotechnology and its link to food security and poverty reduction.

The Eastern and Greater Accra Regional Secretary of the Seed Producers’ Association of Ghana (SEDPAG), Mr Edmund Quaynor, who spoke at a regional session of the Open Forum on Agricultural Biotechnology (OFAB) in Africa, said where production was high and there was no ready market the farmers suffer.

Whiles acknowledging that any technology that would increase yields of farmers was good and must be pursued to its conclusion, he was also of the view that issues concerning ready market where the interest of farmers would be protected must also be looked at critically.

He cited an example where maize yields were increased and the farmers rather became losers due to the fact that the supply was more than demand to the extent that maize at the farm gate which few months ago sold at four cedis per an “olonka” is now selling at 1.20 pesewa.

Dr Margaret Atikpo, the Focal Person of the OFAB Ghana Chapter,  said biotechnology was a scientific method of farming to improve food production to address hunger and poverty in Africa.

She explained that biotechnology produces genetically modified crops that were resistant to pests, crop diseases and drought which had the potential to destroy many farms leading to hunger and poverty.

Again she said biotech crops known as genetically modified crops (GMO) had the potential to address malnutrition in children and pregnant women since the crops modified such as rice could be enriched with protein to boost the immune system of people in Africa.

According to Dr Atikpo, biotechnology could be used to delay ripening in most vegetables and fruits such as tomatoes, pawpaw and watermelon that go waste due to its ripening nature causing huge losses to farmers.

She disabused the minds of the farmers that biotechnology was a foreign intervention that had side effects on humans adding that it was rather an antidote to the many challenges that farmers faced in using chemicals to control weeds and pests as well as boost their production.

Source: GNA

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