African Members of Parliament have given a nod to the use of biotechnology to improve agriculture, food security but called for intensive public education on the issue,Ghana News Agency reported on Monday.
After a four-day field visit to South African Genetically Modified (GM) crop farms, Dr. Mathew Antwi, Chairman of Ghana's Parliamentary Select Committee on Food, Agriculture and Cocoa Affairs, said the GM technology would raise production efficiency in combination with the conventional technologies though it was not a complete solution to all the problems in food production and security.
He said, the use of modern biotechnology could be an important tool for sustainable development and benefit many poor farmers as the issue of hunger has been a real factor in the Sub- Saharan Africa.
The field visit, organized by Africa Bio, a South African based non-government biotechnology organization, enabled lawmakers and journalists from Burkina Faso, Mali, Egypt, Ghana and South Africa to have a first hand information, interact with both commercial and small-scale farmers and take a decision for their countries.
Dr. Antwi noted that the safe and responsible implementation of modern biotechnology required effective national policy and bio- safety frameworks, adding "fortunately for us in Ghana, a bill has been prepared and will soon be put before Parliament for its passage so we could also start something."
Ghana was among 130 countries to develop their national Bio- safety Frameworks to help to meet their obligations with regards to the Cartagena Protocol on Bio-safety in May 2003.