Stakeholders in the biotechnology space have reiterated calls to invest in plant biotechnology and leverage cutting edge tools to ensure food security amidst global challenges.
Speaking at the West Africa Centre for Crop Improvement Alumni Homecoming and 16th Anniversary celebration, Founding Director of the Centre, Professor Eric Yirenkyi Danquah emphasised the power of technology in offering sustainable solutions for Ghana’s agriculture.
“There is hunger everywhere, there is crisis around the world, climate is changing, the rains don’t come, crops fail and people suffer. I once said, ‘why should two sovereign countries exercising their right on what they want to do, affect another country’? It’s a shame for Africa that we’re hungry and have to look up to Ukraine and Russia to bring us food to eat. In today’s world where the challenges keep increasing, the power of science and technology can offer sustainable solutions,” he said.
Demystifying myths about seed science, Eastern Africa Director of the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, Dr. Leena Tripathi reassured that thorough procedures are undertaken before a genetically engineered crop is released.
“This process requires a lot of testing before the product is released. This is to ensure that the product does not have any in-drug because our aim is mostly targeted at disease resistance. We’re are not reforming it to increase the yield and with our experience, we stick with the required procedures,” she highlighted.
Meanwhile, Deputy Agric Minister, Yaw Frimpong Addo urged other African countries to learn from Ghana as the country is leading in the use of agric technology.
“We’ve introduced farmers to improved seeds, expanded access to fertiliser, taught farmers scientific approach to production and enhanced the use of digital innovations in delivery of agriculture extension services. So, when it comes to transforming the agriculture sector using technology, Ghana is leading the way and we’ll urge the rest of Africa to follow suit,” he stated.
Country lead of Alliance for Science Ghana, Joseph Opoku Gakpo explained that the conversation about genetically modified organisms and biotechnology has shifted from eliminating hunger to value based communications hence, perception about seed science also need to evolve.
“I recall that in the past the conversations surrounding GMOs was virtually a static one. We kept on having debates making the point that we need GMOs or else Africa will go hungry but then today we’ve expanded the conversation. We’ve seen the situation where there’s now value-based approaches in the general conversation when it comes to GMOs and biotech. This again is a generational shift we find interesting,” he intimated.
The West Africa Centre for Crop Improvement Alumni Homecoming and 16th Anniversary celebration was under the theme “Harnessing Human Capital in Plant Breeding for the Future of Food Security in Africa”
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