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Business News of Friday, 8 February 2013

Source: citi fm

Agric Minister decries cost of GMOs

The Minister for Food and Agriculture, Clement Kofi Humado has lamented the cost of producing Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) in the country.

The newly sworn in Minister said experience had shown him GMO seeds are more demanding for chemicals such as fertilizer than other seeds making it quite difficult for small scale farmers to manage.

“If you take a GMO maize, the chances are that the quantities of fertilizer you are going to use to get the optimum yield from the GMO seed is much much higher than the local varieties or the varieties produced by the CSIR and Crop Research Institute”, Mr. Humado told Members of Parliament at his vetting. He said despite the several advantages associated with GMOs such as resistance to pests and diseases, the application of the full technology cannot be surmounted by the small scale Ghanaian farmer.

“We have to let the situation be liberal”, he advised, adding that “commercial farmers who can afford to apply all the full technology in order to realize the potential of the GMO may be allowed to go ahead but if you introduce a GMO to a small scale farmer, he cannot afford all the inputs that will go along with the production so we need to find hybrid seeds and intermediate levels of handling our small scale farmers”.

The small scale farmers, he said, should first upscale to hybrid seeds before learning to jump to GMOs.

A member of the Appointments Committee, Honourable Mohammed Muntaka Mubarak however cast doubts about the Minister’s claims to the excessive financial demands in producing GMOs.

The Asawase MP expressed concern some Ghanaians believe GMOs are poisonous and a threat to local seeds and urged the Agriculture Ministry to engage more people in education and sensitization to clear misconception about the technology.

The Parliament of Ghana has since enacted a framework to regulate the use of GMOs in the country.