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Crop Biotech Update

Ghanaian Scientists Call for GM Crops Adoption at Symposium

August 13, 2014

Ghanaian research scientists have called upon Ghana to adopt genetic engineering (GE) or genetically modified organisms (GMOs) instead of sticking to the conventional method of breeding. Dr.I.D.K. Atokple, Savannah Agricultural Research Institute, Tamale and Dr. Marian Quain of the Crops Research Institute, Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) made compelling statements on the need to adopt GM crops at a symposium on GMOs, organized by the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences (GAAS), from July 28-30, 2014.

While agreeing that conventional plant breeding had been going on for hundreds of years and had dramatically increased the productivity and quality of plants for food, feed, and fibre, they maintained that it could no longer be sustained. Dr Atokple said "Conventional breeding is the basis, but with that alone we cannot make progress. In view of the population explosion and developments that are taking up the arable lands, we need to combine all biotechnological tools to increase the productivity of the few lands that are left."

Dr. Marian Dorcas Quain on the other hand recommended the inclusion of biotechnology in the school curricula and called upon stakeholders to involve the private sector since they were the major beneficiaries. "The ultimate aim of our efforts is to alleviate poverty, hunger, and malnutrition in the sub-Saharan region. Public education is crucial as all stakeholders need to make informed decisions based on information from credible sources," she stressed. During the event, Professor Kwabena Mante Bosompem, the acting Chairman of the National Biosafety Committee announced the establishment of a Biotechnology and Nuclear Agricultural Research Institute (BINARI) to build the capacity and fulfil the needs of Authority's implementing agencies.

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