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NBA Holds Workshop on Agricultural Biotechnology and Risk Management

Ghana has not introduced any genetically modified (GM) food in the market. This is because Ghana is still at the confined stage trying to ensure biosafety measures and mechanisms in handling GM foods were put in place first, the Ag. Chief Executive Officer of the National Biosafety Authority (NBA), Mr Eric Okoree has noted.

 

 

The Ag. CEO, expressed concern about the alarming rate at which misinformation about GM food was being spread, indicating there was the need for a vigorous public sensitization on the current state of GM foods in the country.

 

Mr Okoree made the observation at a training workshop organized for journalist by the Program for Biosafety Systems (PBS) in partnership with NBA in Accra on Tuesday.

 

The two days training, which was under the theme:  “Agricultural Biotechnology and Communication Risk Management,” brought together journalist from both the electronic and print media to equip them with requisite knowledge on biosafety and best practices in genetic modification, research and developments with regard to addressing the myths surrounding the introduction of GM foods in Ghana.

 

According to the director of Biotechnology and Nuclear Agricultural Research Institute (BNARI), Prof Kenneth Danso, the only difference between GM foods and the conventional ones was just about the means of cultivation and nothing else.

 

“What is being done is that with GM crops, genes are what are moved from one organism to the other and not fluids or the organism itself enabling direct transfer of hereditary material like gene from one organism to another,” he added.

 

He said there had not been any scientific evidence to the effect that GM foods posed health implications and caused hazards to the consumer. Rather, he challenged the media who played a key role in educating the public on sensitive scientific issues such genetic modification to broaden their horizon by reading widely and understanding the issues to be able to report accurately and objectively.

 

He added that perceived health concerns such as allergy was not peculiar to GM foods only, noting even the conventional foods could also cause allergies .

 

Prof Danso was of the view that GM crops when introduced in Ghana would go a long way to yield positive results since they were drought resistance and could withstand any weather condition, ensure higher yields which would resulting in food security and higher economic benefits.

 

On risk communication management to the public, a senior journalist with Ghana News Agency, Mrs. Linda Asante –Agyei, cautioned journalist against sensationalism in reporting on issues such as genetic modification and usage of inappropriate pictures which often put fear in the general public.

 

She encouraged journalists to be circumspect in their reportage and implored them to develop interest in science reporting as that would positively influence their reportage on science related issues.

 

Source: ISD (Munira Karim & Faith Junko Ogawa)

 

Created: 24 March 2016
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