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Business News of Saturday, 26 January 2013

Source: GNA

Minister designate advocates GMO to boost food security

Clement Kofi Humado, Minister designate for the Agric Ministry on Friday advocated the utilization of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO’s) in commercial farming to boost the country’s food security.

He however indicated that because of the exacting nature of some GMO seed varieties, especially maize, on fertilizers for substantial yields, it was important that peasant and rural farmers were insulated from the expensive nature of cultivating GMOs by concentrating on the use of local and hybrid seeds that demanded fewer inputs for desired yields

Mr Humado who gave the suggestion when appeared before the Appointments Committee of Parliament said the system should be liberalized so that those who can afford to cultivate GMO seed varieties could do so.

He was among the second batch of nominee ministers to be vetted by the legislative committee.

Mr Humado said that his intention was to review the Youth in Agriculture Programme to slant the plan towards processes that would help build the country’s capacity for self sufficiency in livestock, poultry and the rice industry.

He said more youth would be encouraged to go into soybean and yellow maize cultivation, which would be used for feed for the local poultry industry to enable the country wean itself of imports, adding that he would ensure that more educated youth took up employment in the value chain segment to aid in the rapid modernisation of Ghana’s agricultural sector.

Mr Humado said he would pursue reforms aimed at improving subsidy regimes, the efficiency of distributing agricultural inputs and the assessing of needed credit to farmers to increase yields for food security.

He said he would use his experience as a agricultural administrator to leverage funds to improve irrigation and small dams for small to medium scale farmers who constituted the regular food producers in the country.

On livestock improvement, Mr Humado said he initiate a review of the ministry’s plan to develop fodder pastures for livestock farmers in order to confine their rearing to specially demarcated arrears and zone to protect crop producing arrears from the conflicts that arise from the damages to crops through grazing.

He also stressed the need to critically examine the ECOWAS protocol on movement to limit the damage done by the migration of large herds of cattle across the sub-region.

Mr Humado said he collaborate with stakeholders to fast-track the implementation of the Accra Plains irrigation project to that would enable the cultivation of more than 150,000 hectares to improve food security.

He said other segments of the agricultural sector including rice and cotton produce would be given the necessary attention to inure to the country’s capacity to ensure self-sufficiency.

The Minister designate pointed out that there was the need to re-examine the subsidization and the opening up of the fertiliser import market for competition.

He said there was the need for an appraisal of the pricing regime to become favourable to local farmers and discourage smuggling of the commodity to neighbouring counties.

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