Business News of 2014-01-16

Don’t rush Plant Breeders Bill – MAREDES

The Marshallan Relief and Development Services (MAREDES), a non-governmental organisation, has appealed to Parliament not to rush in passing the Plant Breeders Bill currently before it.
It has, therefore, called on the leadership of Parliament to extend the debate on the bill and educate members of the public so that members of the public can make informed choices and decisions.
“Let us take time as a country to study the various researches going on in the world, conduct our own if we have the capacity, to determine the implications and effects of the application of GMOs to the food chain in the country. Let us not rush Ghana into this highly debatable and controversial GMO politics taking place in the world,” it said in a statement signed by its chairman, Sir Kt. Eddie Prah.
It also noted that nothing or little was heard in the media concerning interactions of parliamentarians with their constituents on this important bill when Parliament was on break.
It said the bill, even in its present form, without the mention of GM foods and crops, still required more discussion, education and debate, especially among farmers in food-producing areas of the country where proprietary rights to the crops and food they grew had not been part of their reckoning.
“It is for these and other reasons such as the unconfirmed negative health implications of GMOs that we join the call by the Ghana Catholic Bishops’ Conference, NGOs and civil society organisations for Ghana to hasten slowly in the matter of introducing GMOs to its people,” it said.
It expressed satisfaction about the debate GMOs had generated among non-governmental organisations, civil society organisations, churches and both the Executive and Legislative arms of government.
“Unfortunately the issues about GMOs are so highly sophisticated that it is mainly the intellectual classes of our society who are taking part in the debate. Even these are few. The majority of the people who may be directly or indirectly affected by whatever implications the introduction of GM foods and crops might have are outside the debate and or even if brought in, may have difficulty appreciating the issues,” it stated