The Minister of Food and Agriculture, Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto has said that Ghana does not need Genetically Modified (GM) seeds because the nation has a good number of improved seed varieties yet to be cultivated.
According to Dr Akoto who has been criticised by various farmer groups over his supposed support for the introduction of genetically modified (GMO) foods into the country, the country is not yet ready to make use of GM seeds because there are already 45 different varieties of seeds produced by Ghanaian scientists which have not yet been used.
He said the belief that he was bent on introducing GM seeds into the country was because of misconceptions that were being fueled by his political opponents.
"That is a misconception. I don't think anybody has interviewed me for me to say I am bringing in, no. As I say, I am a scientist and I greatly believe in science and technology when necessary", Dr Afriyie Akoto said in an Interview on Starr FM, Wednesday.
"But, you don't go to that extent when what you already have is sitting on shelves, it doesn't make economic sense to me. My idea is to maximise what we have and that challenge is huge... It is a misconception that I want to correct with this interview.
"There's no need for it, our scientists are some of the top in the world, they produce about 45 different varieties produced by our farmers using the normal research route.
"We don't have to use the sledgehammer to crack the bean at all. We don't need that at all. Our challenge is to be able to maximise what is already on the shelves and not to use research methods," he stressed.
He explained that the nation's crop scientists with minimal support from the government over the years had produced a lot of improved seeds which were not being used.
Dr Akoto said the duty of the Agric Ministry was to link the farmers to the scientists who will provide them with the seeds.
It will be recalled that Dr Afriyie Akoto, the then Minister of Agriculture nominee, during his appearance before Parliament’s Appointments Committee in January rubbished claims he is promoting the introduction and use of genetically modified seeds in the country.
Several groups including Food Sovereignty Ghana (FSG), a grassroots food advocacy movement had criticised his nomination, accusing him of being in support of GMO, which they said has subtly been captured in the Plant Breeders Bill currently before parliament.