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‘Build Confidence In GE Technology’
Posted on: 28-Jun-2013         Source: Daily Guide
Professor Walter S. Alhassan, Coordinator of the Project for Strengthening Capacity for Safe Biotechnology Management in sub-Saharan Africa (SABIMA), says a more prolific dissemination of accurate as well as science-based information on the safety of genetically-engineered crops is necessary to promote interest in the technology.

He said such dissemination should focus on safety and reliability of the science and also on the institutions.

Prof Alhassan spoke to CITY & BUSINESS GUIDE recently in an interview in Accra.

According to him, sub-regional biotechnology activities should be prioritized within the framework of the West & Central Africa Council for Agricultural Research and Development.

He added that such identified centers should be designated as centers for capacity building in agro-biotechnology.

He explained that anti-GMO campaigns of European-based international NGOs as Greenpeace friends of the earth and few others seem to have influence over several African political leaders who are reluctant to embrace GE technology.

“The negative positions of such NGOs seem to have crept into decision-making processes, thus retarding the acceptance of GE in Europe.”

In his view, the general lack of resources – human, material and financial – and the inequitable distribution of resources for GE research for development, constitute a major concern for African GE participating countries.

Also, he noted that there were wide information gaps between scientists, policy makers, farmers, NGOs on the safety of GE technology in Ghana even though there were a lot of local scientists working on the technology.

“The creation of GE information hubs and development of appropriate communication strategies to address the concerns of each stakeholder group should increase the buy-in to the technology.

“Whereas some of the countries had enacted their biosafety laws, there are still gaps in their development of appropriate regulatory frameworks.”

He therefore called on the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA) to support the move towards adopting GE technology to help address declining farm production.