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Ghana’s Christian leaders kick against GMO


Christian leaders in Ghana have kicked against the introduction of genetically modified (GM) crops, with some urging government to halt its introduction into the country.

The religious leaders are convinced the technology does not have God’s approval and it will not help humanity deal with challenges of food insufficiency.

They argue that, among the challenges that confront Ghana’s agriculture, seed is not on the list to warrant attention.

They noted that, the introduction GMO crop, Bt cotton in neighbouring Burkina Faso failed, and asked why Ghana would want to be used as Guinea pig country for GMO?

“It is an American Business man’s idea. If we want to create employment for Ghanaians, we should be concerned about how to invest in local production of seeds as against importation of same. So, when you look at the technology of GMO itself, I don’t think it is a good one. If it is science, let our scientists develop own seeds. Let us take charge of our own seeds. Once somebody, a foreign business man takes charge of your seed industry, he will control what you eat and determine your health. Don’t forget that, food is medicine, say No to GMO,” Elder Enoch Ofori Jnr, the Senior pastor, 7th Day Pentecostal Assembly at Esreso in Kumasi, told Newsghana.com.gh in an interview.

Rev. Charles Agyin Asare, presiding Bishop of the Perez Chapel International, which has more than 400 branches, agrees. He is quoted by Peacefmonline.com as saying that, “genetically modified food is not what we want. What we want is the natural one that God gave us.”

He explained that, genetically modified food is not what we want. What we want is the natural one that God gave us. In every seed, when you plant it, you get a harvest and when you get a harvest, there is seed in the harvest. … Some of the genetically modified foods, they make [them] in such a way that in creating it, they mix chemicals and when they produce the corn, no insect can eat it because they have put the genes of the corn in it so animals cannot spoil it, God made sure that when you have a seed, it can be destroyed, when you have fruits, it can be destroyed. With genetically modified foods, there are times you see an apple … you know some of the apples they sell by the road side, the apple, for six months it doesn’t get rotten. [For] proper apple that is not genetically modified, when you put it down, three to four days, you see that it starts changing colour. You see banana, one month the banana hasn’t changed colour. Normally when you take banana from the tree and it’s ripe and you put it down, three days, the banana will be changing colour; that is how God made it because God has a cycle that things must go [through].

“…It is only genetically modified foods that want to break the cycle [of natural regeneration of seeds]. It’s true. In genetically modified foods, the kind of grain that they give, when you plant that grain and it yields, what you get, you can’t plant it again because that is man-made. So you would always have to go to them to look for seed …” Bishop Agyinasare added.

An article written by a proponent of GMO, states that, Ghana is a deeply religious country, with more than 70 percent of the population identifying as Christians. Churches have been established across the country and run thousands of schools, hospitals and development organizations, making Christian leaders highly influential figures. They usually lead peace and mediation efforts when conflicts break out in communities and differences arise among political actors. Christian leaders have not shied away from publicly stating their positions on key national issues either as a collective or individually, and government usually listens to them when they speak.

Elder Enoch Ofori Jnr dismissed claims that GMO helps increase yield. “We know what we are up against, vested interests and mighty forces in business and government, but the force of truth is always mightier in the long run. (Prov. 12:19; 2 Cor. 13:8).

According to Elder Ofori, GM foods created in the laboratory and mass produced for mass consumption, poses a wide range of threats not only to our health, but also to the national economy, national food sovereignty, local agriculture and even faith-based food biases.

He said, GM opens a Pandora’s box of consumer rights versus the corporate national interest goals of some Western governments, farmer rights versus transnational agribusiness’ profiteering agenda, health issues versus population downsizing.

Explaining that, “It’s a box of ethical dilemmas and a downright economic survival issue. We shudder to imagine the kind of future a GMO dominated developing economy like Ghana might be. It’s a scary future, a future we invite you to have a sneak preview of and see inside of the box! Hopefully, we will be alerted to scrutinize our food purchases more closely and make the right choices in favour of our health.”

Elder Ofori asks, “why a Swiss company that is promoting GMO cannot plant a single GMO in their own country Switzerland. Even the Agric Minister, Afriyie Akoto is against it, why push it down our throats by force?”

He called on Africa governments to reject GMO outright.

A few years ago, the leadership of the Catholic Church, the Catholic Bishops Conference Ghana, cautioned Ghana government over its plans to introduce GMOs. The statement, signed by the group’s president, Most Rev. Joseph Osei-Bonsu, said: “Ghana can do without necessarily introducing GMO foods and crops. We believe that Ghana can achieve food sufficiency and even produce surplus food for export using the conventional means of farming.”


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