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Opinions of Friday, 13 December 2013

Columnist: Amegashie, Felix

At the heart of the debate on GMOs is the socio

At the heart of the debate on GMOs is the socio-economic issue of food security and the politics of who controls our agriculture our food supplies, our imports and our farm inputs.

Inasmuch as data and information available online, concurs with the school of thought that GMOs do not pose any health hazards to consumers, the fact remains that multinational conglomerates supported by the WHO and the EU who have pumped millions of Euros and dollars into research and production of seeds for GMOs , would be looking forward to the harvest where every Euro pumped into this work will be recovered with interest especially in Africa.

I am convinced that the demonisation of the African continent by mostly western media as a continent of hunger and poverty directs the minds, hearts and thoughts of the world to the fact that Africa needs investment in food to reduce hunger and GMOs come handy as a sustainable solution to the droughts, hunger and poverty that Africa finds herself entangled in. Afterall, Africa bears the brunt of the adverse effects of global warming caused mainly by industrialized nations. Our farmers are becoming poorer by the day and our climate is threatening the sustainability of organic and rain-fed agriculture.

While we look on helpless as the world feeds fat on the riches of our continent, we are being tied by trade agreements that opens us up for stiffer competition around the world and such economically poisonous ventures like GMOs are being washed down our throats. They know our leaders and the media have high libido for corruption and they simply can't walk away from bribery and underhand dealings. In view of this interests backing GMOs have penetrated deep into corridors of power on the continent and paid heavily to court the favours of loud-mouthed politicians, media practitioners and more corrupt civil society organisations to execute this dangerous agenda.

More bizarre is the carte blanche our borders have granted our 'development partners' and their conglomerates to the extent that what we have left is a turf for two mammoths to fight on while the grass grows pail beneath their struggle for dominance and supremacy on the continent; our parliament has already passed the law on GMOs and the seed companies eyeing Ghana are on a war of words as to who gains entry into the country to do business.

I ask, how come our parliament and our government let alone the ECOWAS countries couldn't have pooled bio-technologists across board and established a common research and approach to bio-tech and seed technology that remains here with us, is used and produced so what would be used for future imports of seeds, equipment, fertilizers and chemicals to sustain the production of these GMOs would remain in the sub-region and boost our economies?

Are we about to miss another opportunity in industrial revolution or in agricultural revolution to which we have large parcels of arable land and fresh water to benefit hugely from both organic and GMOs farming?

The danger is that we would be creating jobs, markets, and downstream industries for GMOs in advanced economies while our farmers continue to linger in poverty and our currency continue to face harsh pressures which will ultimately tell heavily on our balance of payments. WE are neck deep in loans with payback periods between 10 to 50 years and now we are expanding the frontiers of imports with this GMO bait that is being dangled in front of us.

WE will be done for if we allowed foreign interests to control our food security.