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Ghana has not granted approval for 14 genetically modified seeds for cultivation, says NBA

GMO

The National Biosafety Authority (NBA) says it has not granted approval for the seeds of 14 genetically modified (GM) products to be cultivated in Ghana.

The authority, which is responsible for the regulation of GM and its related products, instead said it has only registered 14 GM products to be imported into the country.

A statement signed by Eric Amaning Okoree, the chief executive officer of NBA, explained that any entity interested to import any GM products into the country is required to get an import permit from the NBA to be able to do so.

It said the 14 approved GM products are also not for cultivation but “they are for the purposes of food, feed or processing.”

“They have been registered to allow for importation for those purposes by individuals or groups interested in them. Any entity interested will require an import permit from the NBA to be able to import them for use in the country. Therefore, the NBA wishes to state categorically that those events or products have not been imported into the country for food, feed, or processing yet,” he explained.

The statement noted that NBA as the government agency responsible for the regulation of GM and its related products has laid down procedures in line with Biosafety Act, 2011 (Act 831) and with international best practices in deciding on any application brought before it.

“Authority therefore wishes to assure Ghanaians of the safety of GM product(s) that have received the NBA’s approval; notably the Bt Cowpea submitted by SARI and the 14 events submitted by Bayer West-Central Africa S.A and Syngenta South Africa which are intended for food, feed or for processing.”

The statement explained that the 14 approved products, made up of eight maize and six soybean events are not intended for cultivation.

“They are, rather, grains for direct use as food, feed or for processing as stated above. This approval was granted under Section 13 of the Biosafety Act, 2011 (Act 831) and Regulation 15 of the Biosafety (Management of Biotechnology) Regulations, 2019 (LI 2383) following the evaluation of data and information supplied by the applicant and a thorough risk assessment by the NBA Technical Advisory Committee (TAC),” the statement added.

It explained that having received the applications for registration, the Authority evaluated the events in line with available data provided by the applicants in line with the authority’s mandate and regulatory processes.

The statement expressed the concern that the call to reject any GM seeds that would be supplied was “unfortunate”, adding “The NBA recognises the need for Ghanaians to adapt to the emerging plant breeding technologies in the agricultural space for sustained crop improvement and food security.

“We wish to reiterate the fact that the improved yield and sustained food security will rather inure to the benefits of farmers rather than impoverish them as being speculated by a section of the media. Again, there is a robust biosafety system in place to ensure the safety of GMOs officially released in the country.”

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