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No Ghanaian scientist will develop poison for Ghanaians to eat - Dr Ampadu-Ameyaw on GMOs

BY: Zadok Kwame Gyesi
No Ghanaian scientist will develop poison for Ghanaians to eat - Dr Ampadu-Ameyaw
Dr Nboyine examining some of the newly cultivated Bt Cowpea on a trial field at Nyankpala

A Senior Research Scientist at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) – Science and Technology Policy Research Institute (STEPRI), Dr Richard Ampadu-Ameyaw, says no Ghanaian scientist will develop any crop that is poison for Ghanaians to eat.

He said Ghanaian plant breeders are also Ghanaians and have families and will therefore not endanger the lives of others.

He said all that Ghanaian plant breeders have been doing was to find solutions to agricultural problems that face Ghanaian farmers.

Dr Ampadu-Ameyaw, who is also the National Coordinator of the Open Forum for Agricultural Biotechnology (OFAB), said this in an interview with Graphic Online on the sidelines of a training programme organised for some selected agric journalists in the country in Tamale in the Northern Region on July 7, 2022.

The three-day training, organised by Alliance for Science in collaboration with CSIR-SARI, OFAB Ghana, and Ghana Agricultural and Rural Development Journalists Association (GARDJA) was to equip the participants with updates on Ghana's efforts in the development of its Genetically Modified (GM) crops, particularly on the newly developed Pod Borer Resistant (PBR) cowpea (Bt Cowpea).

Dr Ampadu-Ameyaw said it was worrying that people who do not understand the science behind GM technology peddle the falsehood that scientists were developing crops that could pose danger to people's health.

He said, “GMO is not a chemical, it is nothing scary but a technology that is used to develop food crops based on the best species.”

He said although genetically modified technology had not been adopted in Ghana yet, it would serve as the best solution to food security.

“GMO will save farmers money as they will not have to spray their crops against diseases and pests. Currently, we are polluting the environment with the spraying of chemicals to prevent crops from being attacked. With GMO, the production cost of farmers will go down and their yields will go up,” Dr Ampadu-Ameyaw observed.

He said scientists who have worked on the newly developed Bt Cowpea are Ghanaians and that the crop was not developed by foreigners as others believe.

He said scientists (plant breeders) go through rigorous processes before they are allowed to release newly developed crops to farmers and that the GM technology is a highly regulated technology.