The UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) reports that over two-thirds of all women in Africa are employed in the agricultural sector, producing nearly 90 per cent of the food on the continent. In addition, research by African Women in Agriculture Research and Development (AWARD) on women in agriculture in 125 African agricultural institutions found that although women produce, process and market most of Africa’s food crops, only one in four agricultural researchers is female.
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The Director of the Crop Research Institute (CRI) of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), Dr Hans Adu-Dapaah, has said the Plant Breeders Bill has nothing to do with genetic modification and urged the House to pass the bill.
He said the bill currently before Parliament was a positive development which sought to address the interests of plant breeders, as well as promote agricultural productivity.
Dr Adu-Dapaah was speaking at a workshop for former Members of Parliament (MPs) on the benefits of the bill in Accra yesterday.
The Offinso Municipal Cocoa Chief Farmer, Nana Kwaku Duah Agyeman, has advised members of the Offinso branch of the Ghana Cocoa, Coffee and Shea Nut Farmers Association and cocoa farmers in general to patronise the government-approved spray to improve yield.
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’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.
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.
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.
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