Dr Richard Ampadu-Ameyaw, a Senior Research Scientist at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has reiterated the need for approval of Genetic Modified Organisms (GMOs) Biotechnology cowpea (Bt cowpea), for release to farmers.
He said confined field trials on the cowpea which had over eleven years been going on in the country, should no longer be delayed as the cowpea had proven resistance to insects and pests.
He acknowledged that even though authorities could not jump the gun but follow due processes, undue delay could cause regulatory costs that encompass payments of researchers and staff, logistics and security services at the trial fields which he stressed were unnecessary.
Dr Ampadu-Ameyaw made the call during a field trip with some journalists undergoing a three day training on understanding the Role of Genetic Modified Organisms(GMOs) in agricultural production, organized by the Alliance for Science (AfS) – a network for scientists, farmers, academics and communicators, in Partnership with the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture(IITA), the Open Forum on Agricultural Biotechnology(OFAB), the Ghana Agricultural and rural Development Journalists Association (GARDJA) and CSIR.
The thirty participants who came from the Regions of the North and the southern part of the country were media practitioners including reporters, editors, radio presenters who report on agriculture, environment and other topical issues.
Dr Ampadu- Ameyaw said he was satisfied with work on the GMO cowpea which had proven resistance to insects and pests and had better yields.
Meanwhile Mr Karimu Nindoo, a farmer from Kpalsuo near Nyankpala admitted that though they did not have the bt cowpea seeds, they had seen the trials carried out at the Nyanpkapala campus.
“It seemed promising because cost of production was expected to be less than the local and other varieties they were currently cultivating,” he said.
Mr Issifu Abukari, also a farmer, appealed to government to release the crop and stressed that with the prospects shown on the field trials, it would attract more youth into agriculture considering the importance of beans as protein source for many families.