Ghana does not need genetically modified foods, Presiding Bishop of Perez Chapel International, Charles Agyinasare has said.
Genetically modified foods (GM foods) are produced from organisms that have had changes introduced into their DNA using the methods of genetic engineering.
There is currently a Plant Breeders’ Bill before Ghana’s parliament, which anti-GMO group Food Sovereignty Ghana (FSG), as well as other groups such as Peasant Farmers Association of Ghana and the Convention People’s Party (CPP), is fighting against. They argue that passing it as well as adopting the ARIPO Arusha PVP Protocol, will be detrimental to local farmers.
Preaching in church at the Perez Dome at Dzorwulu in Accra on Sunday July 31, Bishop Agyinasare added his voice to the anti-GMO campaign saying: “…I’m not being political, but genetically modified food is not what we want. … Genetically modified food is not what we want. What we want is the natural one that God gave us. In every seed, when you plant it, you get a harvest and when you get a harvest, there is seed in the harvest. … Some of the genetically modified foods, they make [them] in such a way that in creating it, they mix chemicals and when they produce the corn, no insect can eat it because they have put the genes of the corn in it so animals cannot spoil it, God made sure that when you have a seed, it can be destroyed, when you have fruits, it can be destroyed. With genetically modified foods, there are times you see an apple … you know some of the apples they sell by the road side, the apple, for six months it doesn’t get rotten. [For] proper apple that is not genetically modified, when you put it down, three to four days, you see that it starts changing colour. You see banana, one month the banana hasn’t changed colour. Normally when you take banana from the tree and it’s ripe and you put it down, three days, the banana will be changing colour; that is how God made it because God has a cycle that things must go [through].
“…It is only genetically modified foods that want to break the cycle [of natural regeneration of seeds]. It’s true. In genetically modified foods, the kind of grain that they give, when you plant that grain and it yields, what you get, you can’t plant it again because that is man-made. So you would always have to go to them to look for seed …” Bishop Agyinasare added.
Food Sovereignty Ghana in March issued a statement saying it was “stunned” and “disappointed” to learn that the Plant Breeders’ Bill was returning to the floor of Ghana’s parliament without the promised consultation with stakeholders as ordered by the Speaker of the House.
“To this end, we are in full support of the press conference organized by CSOs/FBOs on March 1, 2016, at which they called for the protection of farmers’ rights and food sovereignty in Ghana.
The statement signed by Edwin Kweku Andoh Baffour, Communications Director, said at the last time the bill came up on the floor of the House at the consideration stage on Tuesday, November 11, 2014, Speaker Edward Doe Adjaho urged Majority Leader Alban Bagbin, who was, at the time, Chairman of the Constitutional, Legal, and Parliamentary Affairs Committee, to have the body undertake “further consultation” with stakeholders before proceeding further with the bill.
“So far, there have been no consultation and no attempt to inform, apart from some propaganda efforts by the GMO lobby,” FSG said, adding: “We, therefore, find it strange that the Plant Breeders’ Bill is coming back to Parliament without a single consultation with any of the groups (Peasant Farmers Association of Ghana (PFAG), Centre for Indigenous Knowledge and Organizational Development, General Agricultural Workers Union, Ghana Catholic Bishops Conference, Ghana Muslims Mission, National House of Chiefs, Christian Council of Ghana, Apex Farmers Network of Ghana, Food Span and Ghana Trade and Livelihoods Coalition) that have petitioned Parliament.