Influential foreign companies pushing ‘dirty seeds’ in Africa, CSOs claim

The Peasant Farmers Association of Ghana (PFAG), together with its partners have expressed disappointment about some Ghanaian elites, who they claimed, are promoting Monsanto’s
agro-chemicals to the detriment of old age farmer saved seeds.

The partners are General Agricultural Workers Union (GAWU), Centre for Indigenous Knowledge and Organisational Development (CIKOD) and Centre for Development Research and Agro-Innovation (CEDRAI).

A statement issued in Accra by PFAG said while food sovereignty organizations advocate for healthy and cancer free food crops in Africa, these agents were using supposedly anticipated food security crisis to advocate for acceptance of ‘dirty seeds’ commonly referred to as Genetically Modified seeds in the Ghanaian market.

The group cautioned Ghanaians not to follow the footsteps of Burkina Faso, who rushed to accept GMOs BT cotton leading to the near collapse of their cotton industry and now have to go back for the conventional cotton.

The statement said Ghana’s acceptance of GMOs would have dire consequence on the Economic Partnership Agreement the country signed with EU since there is complete ban of GMOs in EU.

Mr Mohammed Abdul-Rahman, President of the Cotton Producers Association of Ghana, said “Burkina Faso did not make it with the adoption of BT cotton.

They have currently pulled out of the arrangement because of low yield and poor cotton quality from BT Cotton seeds.”

He said they were now going in for conventional cotton and this year, Burkina had to go to Togo to buy conventional seeds for their cotton production.

He said Mosanto entered Burkina Faso with the intention of spreading their business across other West African countries but stiff opposition from farmers have kept them at bay.

Madam Victoria Adongo, the Executive Director of PFAG, said: “These companies are using our scientists and journalists as their aid to push for the importation of GM seeds in Africa, peasant farmers across

Africa must wake up against neo-colonisation and all its forms.”

“There is a very big question mark about GMOs,” she added.

She said the scientists claimed there was no proof that GMOs have caused any sickness whiles other scientists had also said it causes cancer but, “we are not sure whether GMOs causes cancer or not.”

“Rich companies must stop pushing their ‘dirty seeds’ on Africa and use their wealth to provide market access for the food we produce.

That way, they will be genuinely helping to make food available to all across the globe and provide income for the farmer in Africa and the world for years to come,” she added.

She described government’s posture as passive and encouraged policy makers to show character and sovereign strength in dealing with the issues regarding GMOs.

Mr Charles Kwowe Nyaaba, the Director of Programmes at PFAG said farmers were confronted with many agricultural challenges, key amongst them were market access, erratic rainfall pattern and high post-harvest losses.

“These challenges are not related to seeds, so why bother about GMO when we have not dealt with these challenges,” he said.

Source: GNA

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