By Isaac Asirifi, GNA
Cape Coast, March 15, GNA - Mr Enoch Ilori, the Project Officer for Open Forum on Agricultural Biotechnology in Africa (OFAB), has said there is no record in any country that suggests that people die after consuming foods from Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs).
Subsequently, he has challenged any individual, groups or organisations who had literature to that effect to bring it forward for consideration.
Mr Ilori said this at the 39th “Green Week Celebration” of the School of Agriculture, University of Cape Coast (UCC), in collaboration with the International Association of Students in Agriculture and related Sciences (IAAS) held at Cape Coast on Thursday.
The Week, on the theme: "Promoting Food and Job Security through Agriculture Innovation," sought to create a platform for farmers, scientists, media and students to deliberate on key issues relating to national food security.
Mr Ilori said Biotechnology, which is the exploitation of biological process for industrial and other purposes, especially the genetic manipulation of microorganism for the production of antibiotics, hormones and others, had been in existence for over 10,000 years without any reported death.
Benefits of Biotechnology include higher crop yields, reduction in farm costs and postharvest loses, enhanced food production and food security.
Mr Ilori said the lack of understanding, ignorance and misinformation in the public sphere did not only create fear but undermined food security efforts of the country.
“Ghanaian scientists are not shopping in different markets, it is the same market they shop from, and I do not think they want to kill themselves if they are not sure about the safety of GM foods,” Mr Ilori said.
He rejected the assertion that Ghanaian scientists were being controlled by those from the Western World and said they did their own research to establish the risk factors and the control before products were released into the system.
Mr Ilori appealed to stakeholders including politicians, traditional leaders, farmers, civil society and the media to educate the public on the need to embrace the biotechnology concept to enhance food security.
Professor Daniel Okae-Anti, a Lecturer at Department of Soil Science, UCC, said many Ghanaians had concerns with GM crops because of the negative perception that it was hazardous, alien, environmentally injurious and costly.
This is due to the rigorous scientific processing of plants and materials before utilization.
"At the mention of GMOs, most people think it’s all about chemicals, but rather the GMO products are coming to reduce agro-chemical spray," he said.
He, however, added that it was normal for people to raise objections because even in some developed countries, such as the USA, China, Argentina and Canada, where GM crops were popular, not many people had accepted the methodology.
Mr Daniel Osei Ofosu, a Research Scientist at BNARI-GAEC, called on the Government to support science research in the country.
He said GMOs were the solutions to the problems in the agriculture sector, which series of researches had proven their safety.