In The News

Speaker lauded for suspending discussions on Plant Breeders' Bill

The Peasant Farmers Association of Ghana (PFAG) has commended the Speaker of Parliament for suspending discussions on the Plant Breeders' Bill (PBB).

He has also been lauded for directing the Select Committee on Constitutional, Parliamentary and Legal Affairs to engage in public consultation on the bill.

However, the PFAG has registered its displeasure with some emerging developments regarding the bill and the introduction of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) in Ghana.

Ghana to learn new agric techniques from Israel

Ghana’s Ambassador to the State of Israel, Mr Ernest Lomotey, has stated that improved agricultural technology is one of its focuses for further strengthening bilateral relations between the two countries.

He said such aspects of bilateral relations would help Ghana produce all year round and the mission was working towards establishing a convergence between Israel’s accomplishments in agriculture and Ghana’s desire to expand productivity in this sector.

Agric support must target farmers — Prez

President John Dramani Mahama has taken a strong position against agricultural programmes that are packaged to benefit technocrats, at the expense of farmers.

"The direct benefits should go to farmers," he said, insisting that his government would not hesitate to reject any agricultural programme that took away the direct benefits from farmers and gave them to technocrats.

"Technocrats in developing countries and mission support staff are happy to package programmes like these because of who the benefits go to," he said.

Genetically modified organisms; the dietitian’s take (2)

Another genuine concern is high pesticide and herbicide residues in GM foods. This is due to the fact that some GM foods are designed to take on more pesticides and herbicides than usual (known as “roundup ready” crops) so that the farmers can kill off weeds and pests without harming their plants.

Due to this resistance, these crops end up getting higher doses of these chemicals than their conventionally bred counterparts get.

No tillage farming, an alternative to GMO

One of the compelling forces necessitating the call for the introduction of the genetically modified organism (GMOs) and the passage of the Plant Breeders’ Bill (PBB) in the country is improvements in yields of crops on the farm and food security.

So while the controversy rages on, various options are being looked at, as alternatives for the production of sufficient food to feed the nation and even export beyond its borders.

We Have No Research On Our Shelves – CSIR

The Director-General of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), Dr Victor Agyeman, has spoken against the notion that many of the country’s research findings are gathering dust on shelves.

While it is the generally held belief that development efforts are being held back by the lack of appreciation for the work done by the country’s research institutions, Dr Agyeman said the lack of connection between research and development was due to the weaknesses of the private sector.

He said since 1996, the CSIR had had an Act which indicated that it had to work with the private sector and commercialise.

IFAD Rolls Out Cassava Flour Project

The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) has rolled out a project to support the inclusion of cassava flour in bread and other confectioneries towards improving food security and the livelihoods of farmers.

The project is to be executed through two IFAD grants; “Enhancing the Competitiveness of the High Quality Cassava Flour Value Chain (HQCF) in West and Central Africa” and “Improving Quality, Nutrition and Health Impacts of Inclusion of Cassava Flour in Bread Formulation in West Africa (Ghana and Nigeria)”.