The Brong-Ahafo Regional House of Chiefs on Tuesday cautioned the Legislature against the passage of the Plant Breeders Bill.
It said the Bill was very weak and immature, and called on the leadership of Parliament to suspend all proceedings in the interest of the nation.
The chiefs gave the warning at an awareness-creation workshop on the Bill on Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) in Sunyani.
It was organized by the Center for Indigenous Knowledge and Organisational Development, a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), with support from Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS), an international NGO.
The Plant Breeders Bill is a legal tool that gives plant breeders, mostly multi-national corporations, protection, and guarantees them income and potential monopoly over countries’ seed supply.
After going through the content of the Bill, the about 45 paramount chiefs unanimously noted that it contained several loopholes which created opportunities for the importation of GMO crops into Ghana’s food chain.
GMOs are plants or animals that have been genetically engineered with DNA from bacteria, viruses or other plants and animals.
According to scientists, these experimental combinations of genes from different species cannot occur in nature, or in traditional cross-breeding.
Pemampem Yaw Kabrese the fourth, President of the Brong-Ahafo Regional House of Chiefs, observed that Parliament would do the country a great harm if it passed the Bill, as it did not contain provisions that safeguarded public interest.
According to Pemampem Kabrese, who is also the Omanhene of the Yeji Traditional Area, Ghanaians ought to be given the opportunity to make inputs into the Bill.
Nana Bofo Bene, Omanhene of the Dwenem Traditional Area, observed that public education on the Bill and the GMO crops was not the best, and appealed to Parliament to suspend it.
Dr Bern Guri, Executive Director of CIKOD, noted that countries such as Mexico and India, had rejected the Plant Breeders Bill outright.
He explained that the GMOs food could be harmful to the body, and it was extremely difficult to differentiate it with other indigenous food in the local market.
This, Dr Guri explained, was why government ought to re-consider its decision and critically examine the Bill.
Madam Victoria Adongo, Programme Officer of the Peasant Farmers Association, said the passage of the Bill meant that smallholder farmers could not get indigenous local seeds which are nutritious than the GMOs crops.
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