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Crop Biotech Update

Ghanaian Experts Say Biotech a Tool for Food Security

March 2, 2012

Biotechnology is a crucial tool to help meet global security since conventional crop improvement by itself cannot guarantee human nutritional needs. Professor Walter Alhassan, Coordinator, Project on Strengthening Capacity for Safe Biotechnology Management in Sub-Saharan Africa (SABIMA) shared this sentiment during the launch of the 2011 Global Status Report on Commercialized Biotechnology and Genetically Modified (GM) Crops in Accra, Ghana.

Alhassan noted that after 15 years of commercial GM crops, perceived risks such as toxicity, destruction of non-target organisms, and allergenicity have had no scientific basis. "Nevertheless, there is need for precaution as the use of the technology is promoted," he added. Linda Asante Agyei, Country Coordinator for West Africa Communicators of Biotechnology, shared the experience of a Ghanaian delegation who visited Bt cotton fields in Burkina Faso. She said the group recommended that Ghana should design a training model for farmers on the technology to be translated into local languages.

A 94-fold increase from 1.7 million hectares in 1996 to 160 million hectares in 2011, makes biotech crops the fastest adopted crop technology in recent history, the Global GM/Biotech Status report revealed.

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