Open Forum on Agricultural Biotechnology in Africa (OFAB) has organised a workshop for clergymen to educate them on the benefits of biotechnology for Ghana and clarify issues about the technology.
Speaking on the sidelines of the training, Research Scientist at the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission, Dr. Daniel Osei Ofosu indicated that religious leaders play a vital role in the level of acceptance of genetically modified organisms by the public.
“Previously, when you speak on this kind of science, it’s a no go area for them but today, from the presentation I could realise that they have understood the technology”, he said.
He observed that participants were willing to know and learn more about the topic .
“I realise most of them are receptive to the technology and from the body language I saw they have understood that it was a way that scientist are helping to make food available to all of us,” he said.
Research Scientists believe it is appropriate that the nation facilitates the processes for the acceptance of biotechnology to enhance food security given the emerging threats to agricultural productivity. However, most Ghanaians are not receptive of the idea of consuming genetically modified organisms. Scientists are optimistic that constant education will help change the perception hence, the training session.
After a few presentations, some participants of the workshop pledged to pass on the knowledge acquired to their congregants.
Chaplain of the Methodist University, Very Rev. Dr. Nii Olenu said, “with this knowledge, I could use some of them as illustrations and through that I could pass some of the information to them.
“I was discussing with one of the organizers whether it’s possible to have and speak to the university, the Methodist university community and of course my parish about about GMOs.” He added.
On his part, Rev. Alberta Bentum with Maranatha Society, Tema West Circuit also said, “I have just had a daze of presentation which I understand so if I have the opportunity, I will call the experts to come and then do justice to the topic for my congregants. I think that all hands should be on deck to make sure that GMO is embraced so we can have a good yield moving forward.”
Meanwhile, Principal Investigator of PBR Cowpea at the CSIR Savannah Agricultural Research Institute, Dr. Jerry Nboyine shared the status of work done on the GM crop.
“For the PBR, let me say PBRBT Cowpea in Ghana, we now have a permit for environmental release and because we have that permit, we have started multi-locational trials in the whole of Northern Ghana”.
“So we have trials that were set up in the 5 regions to introduce the materials for farmers. Farmers planted it for the first time on their farms and they were able to experience how the plant performs. They saw the yield and advantage of that particular cowpea compared to the traditional one. So far, this is where we are and we are hoping that after this year’s work we should be able to prepare to apply for varietal release for the national varietal release committee,” he disclosed.