Ghana’s Parliament considers Plant Breeders Bill

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Parliament on Tuesday resumed sitting after the yuletide break, assuring rigorous discussions and negotiations on the momentous issue of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) as the House considers the controversial Plant Breeders Bill (PBB).

The Bill is currently at the consideration stage, having been taken through the first and second readings, but opponents of GMO’s contend that certain clauses in the Bill should be expunged because they are inimical to Ghana’s food sovereignty and security.

They have urged Parliament to defer debate on the Bill and initiate a process of public consultations regarding the introduction of GMOs into the country’s food chain.

Speaker Edward Doe Adjaho, who welcomed the lawmakers to the First meeting of the Second Session of the Sixth Parliament of the Fourth Republic, told them he had received a number of petitions relating to GMO’s and the PBB, but stated that he would be guided by the provisions of the Bio-safety Act, Act 831 that made provisions for regulation on the issue.

He has however referred the matter to the Leadership of the House to dissect the issues and advice accordingly before the matter was continued.

Parliament was to consider the Bill today, but because of the objections raised by civil society organisations and the numerous petitions; the process had to be deferred for further consultations on the merits of the legislative instrument before consideration.

Meanwhile farmers and civil society organisation staged a demonstration in Accra today, urging government to shelve the PBB, insisting that Ghana would be better off without GMO’s, fearing the passage of the Bill will have negative and serious implications on the health and sovereignty of the country. GNA

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