NKRUMAISM: THE AGE OF BIO-ENGINEERING…

gmo
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

Ref:

http://www.newrepublic.com/article/116104/genetically-modified-food-and-liberalism-and-conservatism

http://www.panafricanistinternational.org/?p=1832

‘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

  • Silkbank Goes Live with Temenos Infinity to Supercharge Digital Banking in Pakistan July 29, 2021
    Download logoPakistan’s Silkbank reimagines digital banking for retail and business customers with AI-powered Temenos Infinity to accelerate adoption, build engagement and drive market growth; digital banking powered by Temenos Infinity will help Silkbank to attract and retain customers and drive customer growth. Temenos (SIX: TEMN), the banking software company, today announced that Silkbank, a leading […]
  • Coronavirus - Malawi: COVID-19 Daily Info Update (28 July 2021) July 28, 2021
    New cases: 629 Cumulative Confirmed Cases: 50,381 Active Cases: 11,392 Total Recovered: 37,196 (318 New) Currently Admitted in Treatment Units: 395 (54 New) New Discharges from Treatment Units: 38 Total Test Conducted: 330,033 (3,244 New) Total Deaths: 1,561 (21 New) Total Vaccinated First Dose: 410,724 (25,391 New) Total Vaccinated Second Dose: 93,471 (50,395 New) Distributed […]
  • Coronavirus - Ethiopia: Covid-19 Reported Cases (28 July 2021) July 28, 2021
    Daily:                                                                  Laboratory Test: 5,093   Cases:233                                                         Severe Cases: 225                                          New Deaths: 2                                                Recovery: 98                                                                                                                Total: Laboratory Test: 2,999,679 Active Cases: 11,709       Total Cases: […]
  • Coronavirus - South Africa: Covid-19 Statistics for Republic of South Africa (28 July 2021) July 28, 2021
    A total of 71 061 tests were conducted in the last 24 hrs, with 17 351 new cases, which represents a 24.4% positivity rate. A further 520 related deaths have been reported, bringing total fatalities to 70 908 to date. Distributed by APO Group on behalf of National Institute for Communicable Diseases, South Africa (NICD).Media […]
  • President Obama Joins NBA Africa as a Strategic Partner July 28, 2021
    The video below is copyright free and can be used at will, without asking for authorization[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rcokSGkV8v4&w=854&h=480]Watch the video: https://www.youtube.com/embed/rcokSGkV8v4Read the full press release: bit.ly/3i938sI Distributed by APO Group on behalf of National Basketball Association (NBA).Media filesDownload logo
  • Coronavirus - Eritrea: Announcement from the Ministry of Health (28 July 2021) July 28, 2021
    Twenty-two patients have been diagnosed positive for COVID-19 in tests carried out today at Quarantine Centers in the Central, Anseba, Northern Red Sea, Gash Barka, and Southern Regions. Out of these, ten patients are from Quarantine Centers in Asmara, Central Region. Six patients are from Quarantine Centers in Keren (4) and Geleb (2); Anseba Region. […]
  • Supporting international non-governmental organisations to promote tax transparency and sexual and reproductive health and rights in developing countries July 28, 2021
    Download logoThe Ministry for Foreign Affairs has granted EUR 17 million to international non-governmental organisations (INGOs) for 2021–2024. The support was granted to five organisations for their work on promoting sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHRs) worldwide, and especially in Afghanistan, and for strengthening tax transparency in sub-Saharan Africa. The funding has a significant […]
  • Somalia: Climate change and conflict threaten herders July 28, 2021
    Download logoConflict and the growing climate crisis are pushing herders in Somalia to abandon their way of life, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has warned. Erratic weather patterns, droughts and floods have taken their toll on Somali pastoralists, while conflict, COVID-19 and the recent locust infestations have made matters worse. Stark new […]
  • UNMISS, partners continue to provide protection and support to displaced people in Tambura July 28, 2021
    “I was caught completely by surprise when armed attackers started shooting and burning our homes to the ground in my village,” reveals Victoria Miidie, a mother of seven. Victoria is from Tinakpuro, a village in the greater Tambura area of Western Equatoria, which is currently beleaguered with conflict. “I immediately ran to Tambura town and […]
  • USAID Advances the Prosper Africa Build Together Campaign July 28, 2021
    Download logoThis week, U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Administrator Samantha Power helped to kick off the Prosper Africa Build Together Campaign at the Corporate Council on Africa’s U.S.-Africa Business Summit. As announced by Special Assistant to the President and National Security Council Senior Director for Africa Dana L. Banks and reinforced by Department of […]

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!

    Nancy

Comments are closed.