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Business News Wed, 10 Nov 2021

We need GM cowpea now - Northern, Upper East cowpea farmers

The Northern and Upper East cowpea growers of Ghana have called on the government of Ghana to grant CSIR-SARI permission to release the seeds of the GM cowpea to farmers.

The farmers stated that releasing the seeds to them will save them a lot of labour and impact greatly on yields with less cost of production.

In a press briefing held in Tamale, the Northern Regional President for the Seed Producers Association of Ghana, Mr. Alhassan Amadu said that they suffered a huge disappointment when they were informed that they cannot have access to seeds of the GM cowpea since it is not permissible by law to release the seeds to farmers.

According to him, the delay in releasing the GM cowpea variety to farmers for commercial production by the relevant state institutions is a deliberate strategy to impoverish the Ghanaian farmer.

He complained that, many neighboring countries have been permitted by their governments to have access and use these GM cowpea seeds, however, this is not the case in Ghana. Mr. Amadu explained that Ghana produces only 57,000 tons of cowpea annually compared to the estimated annual demand of 169,000 due to this challenge.

The Northern Region's President for Seed Producers Ghana also noted that, cowpea growers of the Upper East and Northern Regions are very aware of the rate at which technology is evolving and they are willing to adopt these methods and developments in the agricultural sector to improve productivity and standards of living.

The farmers urged public servants in the various concerned institutions to awaken from their slumber and employ strategic measures to ensure that permission is granted for the release of the GM cowpea seeds.

They also called on the various political leaders to put public servants on their toes since delays in the seeds' release are defeating the national effort in creating wealth for all through the implementation of better policies.

In his submission, Mr. Alhassan Amadu said that farmers' access to the GM cowpea seeds will be possible if the Biosafety Authority does not sleep on their jobs but ensure that the interests of farmers are put first.

He congratulated the scientists who invested all their efforts to make the existence of the seed possible and challenged any individual who has contrary scientific evidence on the GM cowpea seeds to come out and disprove their scientists.
Source: Alidu Abdur Rashid, Contributor
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