The Peasant Farmers Association of Ghana (PFAG) said the Plant Breeders? Bill (PBB) in its current state would allow multi-national seed companies to take over the country?s seed market.
Mr Godwin Atokple, Vice President of PFAG, said the PBB in its current form undermined and threatened the inherent right of indigenous people and farmers to own, save and share their traditional biodiversity.
Mr Atokple was speaking at a joint demonstration organized by PFAG, the Centre for Indigenous Knowledge and Organizational Development (CIKOD) and Action Aid, Ghana on the debate of the PBB and the Genetically Modified Organism (GMO) in Accra.
He said an attempt to delink the PBB from the current global discussion on the GMO was erroneous as the PBB provided the legal framework for the introduction of new varieties.
?GM seeds will make Ghanaian farmers dependent on foreign corporations for seeds, where GM seed is grown, farmers are forbidden from saving their seed,? he added.
He said another absurdity of the bill was that it demands royalties from farmers, who use seeds bred by scientists working in public research institutions in Ghana.
He said the privatization of the seed and biodiversity through any intellectual property rights regime, favours large-scale plant breeders, while violating the basic rights of indigenous farmers.
Mr Ben Guri, Executive Director of CIKOD, called on parliament to enshrine in the bill farmers right to balance the equation.
He said the indigenous agricultural crops should be protected and promoted for the good of the country.
He said there was the need for the establishment of a competent bio-safety authority with proper representation of farmers?? and consumer groups to uphold strong regulatory requirement.
Mr Guri said considerations of bio-safety must be made in line with the African Union?s African Model Law on Biotechnology and Bio-safety. GNA