GMO; yes or no ?

The much talked about ‘GMOs’- genetic modification or alteration of make-up of living things to achieve a desired result would soon take a new name of ‘bioengineered products’; shifting from the earlier or traditional tag of Genetically Modified products. A move I see as re-organized packaging of the GMO technology which some forces against its proponent say is flawed. The best sources of food for such activist are the organic or traditional sources.

I have been following the debate in Ghana for some time now and just caught my attention that the civil society campaign against the introduction of GMOs into the country may be lacking behind in their approach globally.

From my browsing on the internet, the fooddemocracynow.org says about 64 countries apart from the United States inform their citizens if their food has been genetically engineered with simple labels. Now it seems the campaign in one of the biggest markets in the world is the enactment of these basic rights.

A letter addressed to congressmen and the FDA Commissioner asks for ‘strong’ mandatory labeling of genetically engineered foods as against an alleged move by biotech seed and chemical companies and giant food corporations to introduce a legislation that would undermine state’s rights to pass GMO labeling laws.

According to the group, “America must join the rest of the civilized world and pass a strong mandatory labeling bill that is in line with European standards to protect America’s right to know what’s in their food and inform consumers if our food has been genetically engineered.”

The letter said for the past 20 years the U.S. government has continued to deny any risk from genetic engineering, despite increasing scientific evidence that this flawed technology is potentially harmful to human health and the environment.

Food Democracy Now is against a federal GMO label on any product from GMO plants if those ingredients present a health or safety risk. In my view, why ask for state interventions in the union when you should be thinking as Americans with a common market? Why can’t the Federation regulate for all? Why do you want do take the debate/regulation on food quality and safety to the ‘governorship’ level and not ‘presidential’?

Do I sense that the forces for and against Bioengineering may be doing so because of economic power? Is one out-doing the other in economic gains globally? Is it not a fight for survival of a business empire rather than saying it’s for the ordinary American… in the case of the Ghana, the ordinary Ghanaian? But another thought comes to mind; with a technology of a caliber as the ‘bioengineered’ food products, decentralized monitoring and regulation could in my view also strengthen public health safety.   OSGATA et al v. Monsanto.

If one is to take into consideration the campaign in the US and Ghana, two terminologies stand out; ‘Sovereignty’ and ‘Democracy’. The latter makes the debate for more open-minded and the former more of a conservative stance. Even in the EU it is documented that Austria, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Hungary, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Slovenia and the Netherlands wrote a joint paper requesting that individual countries should have the right to decide whether to cultivate GM crops.

This move by these states may bring into focus the stance of the Food Sovereignty Ghana. But the bottom line is with the politics and hidden motives; what is actually blocking the pursuit of natural enquiry? Is it power-based issue and a case-by-case issue of the economic benefit to a particular regime? Scientist and industry seems to have done their bit but I fear the state is also fighting for a place to manipulate or control market penetration of the innovation.

The European Union had already authorized forty-eight GMOs as of August 2012, mostly for farm feeds and food processing. The Monetary zone has also provided a safeguard clause that Member States may invoke to temporarily restrict or prohibit the use and/or sale of a GMO within their territory if they have justifiable reasons to consider that the approved GMO constitutes a risk to human health or the environment. France and Germany have their qualms with the EU; but then Spain is the largest producer of GM foods in Europe. I tell you…I smell some power-brokering here and there, who will control which market and under which approval/license for what time frame? This GM innovation is money!!

So the whole argument in Ghana gives the whole politically motivated plot up. The Economic angle. The Convention Peoples Party founded by the Late Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah is championing the NO campaign for GMO’s in Ghana. As to how much seats or presidential votes this campaign offers in 2016, I don’t know. Because from the way it’s going GMO’s may sail through Ghana’s parliament based on the technical support we enjoy from some bilateral donors. Although the No campaign is on, it hasn’t fetched any candidate a brighter prospect of securing a ticket to parliament to handle Ghana’s food safety concerns. Unless, somebody knows otherwise. So, what is it like to be an Nkrumaist CPP and talk Bio-engineering?

The Late Dr. Kwame Nkrumah may have debunked an accusation that the CPP was ‘anti-intellectual and contemptuous of knowledge’   in his address to the CCP Students Union in the University College of Ghana, now University of Ghana, Legon, in June 5, 1960. But does such an assertion still exist in 21st century Ghana? The CPP is arguing that streamlining GMO activities through legislation is an attempt by “an overwhelming lobby” of multinational companies such as Monsanto, Du Pont, Sygenta, Bayer and others to push a “sinister” agenda to control Ghana’s food chain through unsuspecting lawmakers and on the blind side of Ghanaians.

The daughter of the founder of ‘our homeland’ who currently Chairs the CPP, Samia Nkrumah, therefore demanded that all 275 MPs in Parliament kick against the Plant Breeders Bill 2013 to send a clear warning to multi-national companies that Ghana’s answer to malnutrition is not bioengineering, but alleviating poverty. I wonder the international politico-socio-economic affiliation of the CPP but it seems it is not different from conservative opinions globally. The two dominant political forces in Ghana, NPP and NDC, claim to be liberal and social democrats respectively.

But the forces against genetically modified food has rankled many scientists. Scientist argue that opponents of G.M.O.s have distorted the risks associated with them and have underplayed the risks of failing to try to use the technology to improve production.

Dr Kwame Nkrumah was a visionary, that we all agree but what is the vision of the political think-tank he founded on food security. Samia’s point of view is loud but I beg to differ that it lacks detail. How do we alleviate poverty? His father gave a warning about ‘economic imperialism’ or anything that may compromise the country’s political independence. But the same Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah also warned the students at the time to shed the Don Quixote Armour of Unreality, which according to Ghana’s first President had ruined so many modern institutions which had tried to live a life of self deceit and with both their head and feet in the clouds. To them, the Osagyefo said “come down to earth”. What is modernization?

Russia also has a conservative stance on GMO’s but is working closely with the WTO on its future. The member of the former Soviet Union has taken a lenient stance on GMO’s entering the Russian market. What is our pride as Ghanaians when we cannot read in-between the lines to know what is trending globally? Russia was a close ally of the Nkrumah regime, at least on financial aid. The CPP may have to go slow on the NO campaign, less they cannot see the other side of its benefits; especially in livestock production.

We are talking the Osagyefo’s Ghana in the age of bio-engineering. I am thus, putting the KNUST on the radar here, what is Ghana’s future in GMOs or the broader subject of bio-engineering?

By :Joe Bright Nyarko




‘Selected Speeches of Kwame Nkrumah’ Vol. 1 complied by Samuel Obeng

Publish on Apt

Do you have any Social, informational, educational or entertaining stuff that should be featured on www.aptnewsghana.com?

Please submit your stories, pictures, and videos to us via WhatsApp: +233548388489 or click on the icon on your screen. Alternatively, email us: aptnewsghana@gmail.com

RSS APO Group – Africa-Newsroom: latest news releases related to Africa

  • Coronavirus - Zambia COVID-19 statistics daily status update (11 May 2021) May 12, 2021
    COVID-19 daily update - 11th May: we report 40 new cases out of 5,697 tests (0.7% positivity), 38 recoveries, and 4,399 new vaccinations; with 1 new death (MHSRIP).Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Zambia National Public Health Institute (ZNPHI).Media filesDownload logo
  • Coronavirus - Eritrea: Announcement from the Ministry of Health (11 May 2021) May 12, 2021
    Sixty-four patients have been diagnosed positive for COVID-19 in tests carried out today at Quarantine Centers in Gash Barka, Anseba, Northern Red Sea, and Central Regions. Out of these, fifty-one patients are from Quarantine Centers in Ghirmaika (25), Agordat (22), Ali Ghidir (3), and Adibara (1); Gash Barka Region.  Six patients are from a Quarantine […]
  • Team Qhubeka ASSOS take on Challenge Mallorca May 12, 2021
    Team Qhubeka ASSOS (www.TeamQhubeka.com) will head to Mallorca, Spain, this week for the four UCI 1.1 races that make-up the Challenge Mallorca, starting tomorrow. Trofeo Calvia, Trofeo Serra de Tamuntana, Trofeo Andratx and the Trofeo Alcudia are the four events taking place on the Spanish Balearic Island of Mallorca this week. Each of the races […]
  • Energy Capital & Power Confirms High-level Sponsors for South Sudan Oil & Power 2021 Event May 12, 2021
    Energy Capital & Power (www.EnergyCapitalPower.com) is excited to announce the confirmation of several high-profile sponsors for its South Sudan Oil & Power 2021 (SSOP) conference on 29-30 June 2021, in Juba; Event sponsors include Nilepet, DPOC, GPOC, SPOC, Petronas, CNPC, Atlas-Oranto, Centurion Law Group, Trinity Energy, Nile Petroleum Service Co., IPTEC and Stanbic Bank; ECP […]
  • ?About a Boy ? the big winner at 2021 Nollywoodweek Film Festival May 12, 2021
    "About a Boy", a story about the psychological games played between a writer and his muse by first-time director Diji Aderogba received the highest honor at the 2021 Nollywoodweek (www.Nollywoodweek.com) film festival, the Audience appreciation award known as the Prix du Public. The announcement of the winning film marked the culmination of the 2021 edition […]
  • The Newest TECNO CAMON 17 Pro raised the bar for selfie smartphones, allowing users to express their true selves creatively in their own way May 12, 2021
    On May 6th, TECNO (www.TECNO-mobile.com), a rising superstar as a global smartphone brand of the new generation, has successfully launched the TECNO CAMON 17 Pro and get back their focus on the seflie for the users in post-epidemic era with48MP AI selfie camera and 90 Hz super-high refreshing rate at 6.8 inch FHD Screen. Not […]
  • UNICAF Sets Out Plan to Expand to 17 African Countries Following UN Call for Investment In Digital Education May 12, 2021
    The COVID-19 pandemic unearthed the fault lines for what could be a generational catastrophe in education. Even before the pandemic resulted in school closures affecting over 1.6 billion students in at least 161 countries (https://bit.ly/3ydxErB), more than 250 million school-age children (https://bit.ly/3eGd6QM) were out of school globally. In much of the developing world, the gap […]
  • Coronavirus - Kenya: COVID-19 update (11 May 2021) May 12, 2021
    356 people have tested positive to the disease, from a sample size of 4,424 tested in the last 24 hours. Our positivity rate is at 8.0%. From the cases 329 are Kenyans while 27 are foreigners. Total confirmed positive cases are now 163,976 and cumulative tests so far conducted are 1,725,546. County distribution of new […]
  • Coronavirus - South Africa: COVID-19 Statistics in South Africa (11 May 2021) May 12, 2021
    Tests conducted: 10,931,906 Positive cases identified: 1,599,272 Total recoveries: 1,519,258 Total deaths: 54,896 New cases: 1,548Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Republic of South Africa, Department of Health.Media filesDownload logo
  • Coronavirus - Eswatini: COVID-19 daily update (11 May 2021) May 12, 2021
    Total daily tests: 1,068 New confirmed cases: 5 Cumulative confirmed cases: 18,487 Active cases: 32 Recoveries: 17,784 (0 new) Currently admitted: 0 New deaths: 0 Total deaths: 671 Total vaccinated to date: 35,227Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Ministry of Health, Government of the Kingdom of Eswatini.Media filesDownload logo

1 Comment

  1. Hi Joe,

    Very interesting and thought-provoking article. Thanks for posting it.

    Thanks, too, for the blog follow. It led me to your blog, which I am now following. I look forward to reading more of your posts.

    Happy blogging!


Comments are closed.