By Christabel Addo, GNA
Accra, Nov. 2, GNA - Ms Rose M. Gidado, the Assistant Director for the National Biotech Development Agency of Nigeria, on Thursday called for the humanisation of science, to help demystify the numerous misconceptions relating to inventions.
Ms Gidado, who was addressing participants at the opening of a Biotechnology forum for women in Science in Accra, said scientists had been too conservative with their work, leaving the outer world in the dark on what was to be achieved.
She said this often leads to the rejection or implementation of research findings, inventions, interventions and other scientific data by society, politicians and policymakers, due to the delusions and fear that surrounded the acceptance of new discoveries.
She said it was time for scientists to open up to society, and engage them in the processes towards new discoveries, to help expand public knowledge and ensure effective communication so as to remove all the possible barriers to the acceptance and implementation of findings and innovations.
Ms Gidado thanked the United States Embassy through whose sponsorship the forum was being organised, to provide further enlightenment to the participants on the thorny issues on Biotechnology, regulations in Ghana, as well as the risks and associated benefits.
She later made a presentation centered on effective and innovative strategies to deal with challenges in agriculture, and made claims to the fact that biotechnology had led to major advancements in key areas including; industry, health and the environment in the developed world.
She cited the adoption of genetically modified food crops, as an effective biotechnology tool in agriculture, to improved crop yield, ensure insect resistance, as well as herbicide and drought tolerance, and also reduce the use of harmful pesticides among other things.
Ms Gidado said the world was currently facing the threat of food security, and it was important that efforts were doubled to increase food production through well researched and safe application of biotechnology and also to improve agricultural systems.
Professor Walter Sandow Alhassan, the Director of the Biotechnology and Stewardship for Sustainable Agriculture (BSSA), in West Africa, who chaired the forum, said although biotechnology was not a “silver bullet” that would solve all the problems, but was only an alternative solution to the host of challenges.
He however called on Ghanaians to embrace the use of biotechnology in agricultural production to ensure increased crop yields to secure the country’s food basket.
He said the forum would focus on biotechnology as a means of enhancing food quality, safety and production, although the Agricultural sector in sub-Saharan Africa was besieged with a myriad of challenges.
“We need innovations in technology to deal with the mounting challenges in agriculture,” and engaging women as key players, was crucial considering the challenges they faced in areas such as land, capital and market access for their produce.
Prof. Alhassan said although globally, women in science were few, getting them to talk about the issues that affected them was crucial as they formed the dominant group and contributed meaningfully to the Gross Domestic Products of their respective countries.
Ms Melinda Tabler-Stone, the Deputy Chief of Missions at the US Embassy in Ghana, said the forum was to promote support for women in science and also to demonstrate the commitment of her country to enhance agriculture through innovative technology.
She said the US had over the years supported improvements in the agricultural sector, and expressed the hope that ongoing research on improved variety of crops would be embraced when concluded, to enhance food production for local consumption and for export, as well as to help reduce poverty through job creation.