The Centre for Climate Change and Food Security (CCCFS) is demanding the details of risk assessment conducted by the National Biosafety Authority (NBA) for the approval for the environmental release of Genetically Modified (GM) Cowpeas.
The Centre for Climate Change and Food Security is also requesting the methodology used to assess the environmental and consumption safety of the product as well as details of the findings of the assessment.
In a letter signed by Mr Sulemana Issifu, the Director of Research of CCCFS, and addressed to the NBA, the Centre said it was shocked to learn that the NBA has granted approval to SARI’s application to release the GM cowpea.
“Our surprise is actuated by the clandestine refusal of the NBA to grant our Centre pertinent information regarding the application for permit by SARI which we requested for.”CCCFS
CCCFS justified the move stating that the information requested is in line with section 18(2) of the Biosafety Act which mandates the NBA to release information deemed not confidential in line with a GM application for permit to members of the public who place a request for such information.
The Centre further noted that there is no denying the fact that GMs have the potential to obliterate the natural ecosystem, adulterate other biological organisms and germplasms, hence our request to be sure that the current product is safe for the environment. “The CCCFS believes the opacity with which NBA handled the process lends credit to the GM lobby and how they engage in underhand dealings.”
The letter, moreover, questioned whether it was the NBA’s contention that information on safety was confidential and not accessible to potential sufferers of beneficiaries of the GM cowpeas.
“As scientists, we insist on seeing evidence on the safety of all biological organisms before recommending them for public use,” the letter demanded.
Taking Advantage of Ghanaians
The CCCFS also accused the NBA of taking advantage of the reticence of Ghanaians on such matters to violate sacred principles of co-creation, and implored Ghanaians particularly the media to show keen interest in the matter.
CCCFS’ statement follows the approval of permit by the NBA for the release of the GM cowpeas developed by the Savanah Agricultural Research Institute of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR-SARI).
Prior to the approval of the permit, CCCFS had requested information on the application for permit from the NBA after submitting a position paper to the Authority which spelt out its objection to the application.