Peasant farmers support development of science and technology

The Peasant Farmers Association of Ghana (PFAG) says they are in full support of science and technology for the development of the agricultural sector.

Mr Abdul-Rahaman Mohammed, President of PFAG said, however, farmers are against technology that would take away their sovereignty and enslave them to foreign multinationals like whose primary motivation is profit.

Mr Abdul-Rahaman said this during a news conference to state the association’s position as small scale farmers on the Plant Breeders Bill and the constraints in the agricultural sector for public discussion in Accra.

He said they are worried by the desperate attempts by some interest groups within and outside Parliament, to push for the passage of the Bill.

He said some of the clauses stand to compromise the agriculture sector in favour of transnational seed and fertilizer companies.

He commended the Speaker of Parliament, Mr Edward Doe Adjaho, who consistently remained focused by directing the Parliamentary Select Committee on constitutional, Parliamentary and Legal affairs to allow for wider stakeholder consultation on the Bill.

He said the essence of the Bill, they were informed was to improve the seed industry by providing a legal framework for the protection of the rights of breeders of new plant varieties.

“However, a careful consideration of the bill reveals otherwise,” he added.

He said the bill does not recognise small holder farmers with a rich history in plant breeding as plant breeders.

Mr Abdul Rahman said the Bill in its current form does not respect Ghana’s obligation under the Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPs) of the World Trade Organisation, the objective of which is spelt out in TRIPS Act in Article 7.

“The plant Breeders’ Bill in its current form does not factor in political, economic, socio-cultural and health implications of the bill to citizens,” he added.

He said there is a risk of loss or disappearance of local/indigenous seed and the complete takeover of the seed industry by commercial plant breeders.

He said the agriculture sector is key to the overall economic growth and development of Ghana as it provides employment to about 50.6 per cent.

He said the country has experienced and intelligent scientists at the Centre for Scientific and Industrial Research, who were paid by the Ghanaian tax payer to research into how to improve local agricultural production.

He appealed to government to provide financial resource to enable them make available what they have been doing for farmers.

He expressed dissatisfaction that there are numerous problems in the agriculture sector making it impossible for farmers to maximise their potentials.

The problems included, poor feeder roads, lack of storage facilities, post-harvest lost problems, inadequate irrigation facilities and difficulty in accessing credit.

He expressed the hope that if the problems are addressed, it would put farmers in a better position to produce enough for domestic consumption and for export. GNA

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