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Regional News of Friday, 20 December 2013

Source: Graphic Online

Don’t rush to pass bill - Akosa

A former presidential aspirant of the Convention People’s Party (CPP), Prof. Badu Akosa, says Parliament should not be stampeded into passing the Plant Breeders Bill.

He explained that since the country was not confronted with food security challenges, the bill should be carefully considered to prevent the country from unknowingly surrendering its sovereignty to another country.

He noted that every decision taken by members of Parliament ought to be in the supreme interest of the people of Ghana.

Prof. Akosa said this at a Citizens Alert Forum organised by the Africa Centre for Development and Integrity (CeDI Africa) in Accra.

He pointed out that the bill ostensibly sought to protect the Ghanaian researcher, but in effect was selling away the independence the country’s peasant farmers had enjoyed since time immemorial to the multi-national seed companies.

He said for example that the seeds of genetically modified crops could not be replanted after harvest because of their expiry date. This meant that farmers, every season, had to procure new seeds from seed companies before they could plant their crops.

Prof. Akosa said this was a complete departure from the way farmers used to preserve their seeds.

He noted that this was a subtle way of another country controlling the food security of another country which could be used to blackmail that country to open itself up for exploitation of its resources.

He pointed out that in the long run, it was the seed companies which are financing the research works of Ghanaian scientists that are going to gain from the bill and not the Ghanaian researchers.

He said there was nothing wrong if the research of Ghanaian scientists was funded by the Ghana government for the benefit of Ghanaians, but as it stood, there was cause for concern.

Prof. Akosa said the bill had nothing good to offer but was a means to power play and control the food security of the country.

He explained that Ghana had vast tracts of arable land and what was required was to increase the acreage of cultivation using the conventional methods which had worked so well for the country.

He said any country that allowed another country to control its source of food and water supply stood the risk of losing its independence and self-determination when their source of food supply was cut off.

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