“Interaction between Scientists and Media Personnel in Ghana”
Ghana’s Deputy Minister of Food and Agriculture (Crops) recently called on the media to ensure objective and fair reporting on the topic of genetically modified organisms (GMOs). “Ghanaian farmers stand to gain a lot in the eventual commercial introduction of genetically engineered crops,” said Dr. Yakubu Alhassan during a recent press gathering.
The education event allowed scientists, regulators and media to openly and calmly discuss topics that are frequently brought up in public forums.
Participants learned about the basics of biotechnology, general questions about the technology, Ghana regulations and associated socioeconomic considerations.
Sponsored by the Ghana Biotechnology and Nuclear Agriculture Research Institute (BNARI), the discussion came on the heels of confusion regarding the Plant Breeders’ Bill. The Plant Breeders’ Bill has been confused with the Biosafety Act (Biosafety Act, Act 831) passed in 2011, which regulates all activities related to the introduction of GMOs into Ghanaian environment and markets.
Ghanaian scientists and leaders involved in biotechnology shared their perspective and knowledge. This included Prof. Benjamin J.B. Nyarko, Director-General, Ghana Atomic Energy Commission; Prof. Kenneth E. Danso, Director, BNARI; and Dr. Margaret Atikpo, Focal Person, Open Forum on Agricultural Biotechnology - Ghana Chapter; who represented the Director-General of Centre for Scientific and Industrial Research, Dr. Samuel Amiteye, Manager, Biotechnology Centre, BNARI; Godwin Nana Yaw Lemgo, Program Officer for Food Safety, NEPAD Agency; Eric Okoree, Secretary, National Biosafety Committee; and Samuel Timpo, Senior Program Officer, NEPAD Agency.