Deputy Minister for Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI), Patricia Appiagyei has said government has taken steps to mitigate the adverse effects of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) on health and the environment through the ratification of a number of protocols.
“To address the adverse effects of GMOs, Ghana has ratified the Cartegena Protocol on Biodiversity, and has also developed its Biosafety Framework. Currently, we are also in the process of Ratifying the International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biosafety (ICGEB),” Appiagyei said.
These provisions, she said have given opportunities for our scientists and researchers to conduct adequate research in biotechnology, adding that, “this will enhance government’s agenda for food sufficiency and industrialization based on improved productivity in the agro-industry.”
Speaking at a seminar organised by the United States Department for Agriculture Foreign Agriculture Service (USDAFAS) in Accra on Advanced Agricultural Technology, Biosafety, and Regulatory Approaches, the Deputy Minister advised, Ghana lay high premium on biosafety because it recognizes the potential benefits it can derive from GMOs and their related products.
The Cartegena Protocol on Biodiversity seeks to protect biological diversity from risks posed by genetically modified organisms that come from modern biotechnology. The International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biodiversity (ICGEB) is also a centre of excellence for research and training in genetic engineering and biotechnology for the benefit of developing countries.
According to her, it was equally important to take keen interest in the harm GMOs can cause to human life.
MESTI plays a major role in the development, promotion, utilization and regulation of biotechnology through hosting key agencies to implement the various policies, laws and regulations on biotechnology, biosafety and their related issues.
Genetically Modified Organisms are organisms whose genetic material have been artificially modified in a laboratory using genetic engineering or transgenic technology.