Abdullai Baba Salifu, Director General of CISR

The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has reiterated its commitment to back farmers in Ghana to adopt genetically modified (GM) foods.

The council believes in the use of technology to improve the living standards of farmers through the adoption of GM foods.

Abdullai Baba Salifu, Director-General of CISR, interacting with journalists during the press launch of the Biotech/GM Crops in Accra, said the phenomenon was not new.

?With the advances in technology, we are able to find out precisely the location in plants of genes responsible for a particular character, for example increased yield and put it in a local crop which does not yield high because it is possible to transfer the gene directly.?

He said the process does not necessarily disrupt the plant and make it dangerous to human lives.

?It is the same cross pollination of natural genetic occurrence that you have been seeing; the difference here is that you have to subject it to certain process and the suggestion of the processes is what people think we are unduly changing the composition, but we are not,? he emphasized.

Professor Walter Sandow Alhassan, a consultant for Biotech Crops, presenting the Global and Regional trends in commercialization of biotech and GM crops, said GM crops were safe.

?Improved productivity and income and the reduction of the need for external inputs has been recorded over the past 16 years that the GM was first introduced in crop production.?

He stated that GM crops also helped to protect bio-diversity through sustainable intensification.

Prof. Alhassan said several new products of GM crops would be introduced in future in Africa.

Charles Annan of the Ghana National Association of Farmers and Fisheries (GNAFF) stressed the need for farmers to improve their yield.

?We cannot depend on hoes and cutlasses for our survival and more over most of the lands are being taken over by real estate developers so we have produce to get the best out of it,? he said.

He, however, appealed to scientists to come up with solutions to help farmers in the cultivation of GM crops.

By Jamila Akweley Okertchiri

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