Dr Joe Oteng-Adjei, Minister for Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation has stated that the country would adopt the Genetically Modified Organism (GMO) technology to improve agricultural production and income for farmers.
Dr Oteng-Adjei said with the passage of the Biosafety and Biotechnology Law, Ghana had no option but to adopt the GMO innovation to enhance agricultural production through scientific methods.
He said various reports by experts had testified that GMO products were safe adding, “there was therefore the need to put in place the necessary infrastructure to begin its (GMO) commercialization in the country.”
The Minister said this when interacting with staff of the Savannah Agricultural Research Institute of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR-SARI) at Nyankpala in the Northern Region on Wednesday.
The Minister, who was accompanied by his Deputy, Dr Mohammed Musheibu-Alfa, was on a familiarization visit to the research institute to understand its operations especially in the area of GMO products.
As part of the interaction, a presentation on production of biotechnology cotton was made after which the Minister and his entourage visited a biotechnology cowpea farm at Nyankpala in the Tolon District and a biotechnology cotton farm at Kpalkore in the Mion District.
Dr Oteng-Adjei said fears being expressed by sections of the public about the safety of GMO were not out of place given it being new, but added that the (fears) could not prevent the country from adopting the technology.
He, therefore, gave assurance that extensive sensitization would be undertaken to educate the public about GMO technology.
He challenged CSIR to commercialize its activities to generate enough resources to support its operations.
He also urged old members of staff to draw their exit strategy and give way to young ones to revolutionize the research institution and desist from the habit of asking for contracts to extend their years of service.
He commended CSIR-SARI for its efforts in ensuring excellence in research into various agricultural challenges, assuring that government would continue to retool its equipment to ensure efficiency.
Dr Stephen Nutsugah, Director of CSIR-SARI said SARI was poised to lead efforts at ensuring food security in the country, saying its research scientists had released a number of improved crop varieties which were helping to increase farm yields and incomes of farmers.
Dr Nutsugah made a presentation on the state of CSIR-SARI saying even though it was on course to achieving its mission, a lot needed to be done in terms of improving infrastructure to ensure efficiency.