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The Konrad Adenauer Stiftung in collaboration with Centre for Indigenous Knowledge & Organization Development (CIKOD) organized a seminar with the members of the Upper West Regional House of Chiefs and Pognamine to deliberate on the Plant Breeders Bill (PBB) and Genetically Modified foods (GMO) and their implications for Ghanaian farmers, and issues of mining in the region in the Upper West Region.
In attendance include paramount chiefs or their representatives, Kuoro Richard Babini VI acting President of the Upper West Regional House of Chiefs, Mr. William Laate representing CIKOD, and Dr. Isaac Owusu-Mensah Snr. Program Manager of the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung.
Mr. William Laate made a presentation on ‘Protecting Food Sovereignty in Ghana – what Ghanaians should know about GMOs and the Plant Breeders’ bill, followed by Mr. Joseph K. Nkuah on ‘Overview of the work of the Upper West Regional Coalition of NGOs on mining’ and ‘The Impact of mining on people living in mining communities’.
The following concerns were raised after the presentations.
•The move to pass the PBB will promote the distribution of GM seeds and that will consequently betray governments effort of encouraging consumption of made in Ghana commodities.
•The PBB and GM seeds are not the solutions to the problems of food insecurity and inadequacy of food sovereignty in Ghana; Traditional authorities in the region believed that, conservation agriculture provides a better alternative to GM seeds.
•Research institutions such as the Savannah Agricultural Research Institute have developed local varieties of crops and plants which are culturally acceptable and should be made economically accessible to the local farmers.
•Traditional authorities will take urgent steps to inform and educate local farmers on the possible dangers of embracing GM seeds. The main problems of peasant farmers in Ghana are not productivity of our seeds, but: declining soil fertility, land grabbing, erratic rainfall, transportation, access to credit and markets, storage, infrastructure and extension support.
•The region is not ready for gold mining now.
Participants were satisfied with the knowledge acquired and pledged to be work closely with each other to bring about enhanced wellbeing development for their people.