Ghana will soon be the centre for the testing of Genetically Modified Organisms, GMO products in the sub-region as regulations and preparation of a laboratory is still underway.

This will help examine the quality of products that will be released for public consumption.

This was made known at the inauguration of the 13-member National Biosafety Authority Board by the Minister of Environment, Science and Technology, Dr Kwaku Afriyie in Accra.

According to the Chairman of the Board, Professor Charles Antwi-Boasiako, who is a Senior Lecturer at the Faculty of Renewable Natural Resources, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Ghana has been able to secure a laboratory which is in the process of completion. This he said will help in the research of GMO products before releasing it to the public.

He noted that Ghana has delayed in releasing the GMO cowpea which is still being experimented because they want to ensure that nothing untoward happens to the health and well-being of Ghanaians.

He was of the firm conviction that everything will be ready by the end of the year.

“Before we bring anything out there are a lot of checks and balances to ensure whatever is coming out will inure to the benefit of the public without endangering anybody”.

Professor Charles Antwi-Boasiako, expressed gratitude to the government for the mandate and pledged to lead the Board towards helping Ghana to take its rightful place in biosafety matters.

“We have to establish a lot of international collaborations with our sister agencies across the globe. In discharging our duties we will uphold integrity, transparency and be service oriented, ethical and vigilance as far as our duties as regulators is concerned.  Honourable Minister we are going to bring our expertise to bear to ensure we succeed”. Professor Antwi-Boasiako said.

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The Board is expected to make decisions on biosafety applications for safe development, transfer, handling and use of GMOs in Ghana, and address socio-economic issues related to biotechnology and biosafety.

The Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, Dr. Kwaku Afriyie charged the Board to educate the public on biotechnology and biosafety issues. This he said will help the public understand and embrace biotechnology as an alternative to socio-economic Advancement. He said such public education on biotechnology, especially on Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs), is needed to be carried out by the Board “to help to correct the wrong perception created in the minds of the public regarding the technology”.

“Biosafety issues are becoming very very important. One of the most contentious issues is GMOS. You must give education to Ghanaians and look at the issues backed by science and not sentiment. Biotechnology is so important and we can’t develop without it” the Minister said.

Dr. Kwaku Afriyie said biosafety issues in Ghana are becoming very important and must be accorded appropriate attention. He noted that he is looking forward to a good working relationship with the board to ensure food security which is a crucial component of the nation’s security and safety.

Members of the Board include Eric Okoree Amaning, CEO of the National Biosafety Authority, NBA, Dr. Yaa Difie Antwi Osei, Chairperson, Technical Advisory Committee, NBA, Kwamena Essilfie Quaison, MESTI, Dr. Andrew Adugudaa Akolaa, AGI, George Agyeman Sarpong, Legal Practitioner, Dr. King Kwao Amoah, NGO. The rest are Professor Yao Tettey, Academia, Dr. Francis Boateng Agyenim, CSRI, Dr. Felicia Ansah Amprofi, MOFA, Dr. Anastacia Michaelina Yirenkyi, MOH, and Phyllis Sekyi Gyan, GRA(CEPS).

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