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General News of Saturday, 16 February 2008

Source: GNA

Biosafety Bill for application of Biotechnology

Accra, Feb. 16, GNA - The National Biosafety Committee (NBC) has promulgated a Biosafety Legislative Instrument (LI) to circumvent the delay in the passage of the Biosafety Bill to allow good practice of science. The LI, currently before parliament is expected to be passed by the end of March after the 21 sitting days of parliament.

Mr Samuel Timpo of the Biotechnology Nuclear and Agricultural Research Institute of the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission said this at a press conference in Accra on Friday to highlight the current global status of commercialisation of biotech crops and Genetically Modified crops.

The LI used the existing CSIR Act 521 of 1996 as a template, since it has provisions for the conduct of research in general, seeks to simply extend this to the conduct of research on Genetically Modified Organisms.

Mr Timpo explained that the LI recognised and empowered the NBC as the National Focal Point on Biosafety.

It also authorized the conduct of confined field trials, provided the regulations for the conduct of confined field trials but did not allow the commercialization or release of products to farmers and consumers.

Mr. Timpo called for the need to develop capacity for genetically Modified food safety evaluation from food safety data submitted by country of export, rapid determination procedures for GM containing foods and build capacity to implement biosafety legislation. He said Ghana's desire to modernize agriculture in the country must take necessary protocol procedures to development agriculture sector in the country.

"We need to develop capacity for GM food safety evaluation from food safety data submitted by the country for export, if guidelines are followed, GM foods are safe and approval must be on a case-by-case basis and there must be the need for capacity building, he added." He noted that the law on biosafety existed and must be controlled when implemented in Ghana.

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