Plant Breeders Bill Will Promote Productivity-Dr Stephen

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Plant Breeders Bill
Plant Breeders Bill

Dr Stephen Amoah, a Research Scientist of the Crop Research Institute of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), has described the Plant Breeders Bill currently before Cabinet as a positive development.

Breeders BillHe said the Bill will help address the interests of plant breeders as well as promote agricultural productivity.

Debunking the allegations from certain quarters that the Breeders Bill, when passed, would give the giant seed companies? monopoly over seeds and denying farmers of affordable seeds, Dr Amoah explained that the Bill would provide the legal framework for breeders? investment and efforts to be recognised and necessary royalties paid to breeders.

?The Bill when passed into law will provide an incentive to stimulate new breeding initiatives that will focus on national development, provide a basis for innovative and effective breeding work at domestic level and foster partnerships between the private and public breeding sectors?.

Dr Amoah said this when he made a presentation on the Breeders Bill to 26 selected journalists attending a three-day training workshop. The journalists were selected from Ashanti, Brong Ahafo, Northern, Upper East and Upper West regions.

Organised by the Program Biosafety Systems, in collaboration with the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, The International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA), Africa Biosafety Network of Expertise of NEPAD and Africa Harvest, the training is aimed at equipping journalists with right information on biosafety and biotechnology issues.

Dr Amoah explained that the bill will also unveil the potential for market demands to be met where the development of new varieties are commercially viable and provide benefits at international level by removing barriers to trade in varieties, thereby increasing both domestic and international market scope.

Dr Hans Adu-Dapaah, Director of CRI, in a speech read for him explained that the main objective of the bill was to establish a legal framework to acknowledge the achievements of breeders of new varieties.

?CRI stands to benefit, and have demonstrated their potential to benefit from the system, adding that, ?The same can be said for other agricultural research institutes both in the private and public sectors?.

He explained that many works had gone on with plant breeders developing many varieties of crops being used by many countries like Cote d?Ivoire and others in East Africa but no royalties have been paid to them.

?If we do not have this law passed and the countries using our varieties patent them, our labour for all these years from the laboratory to the field will be in total vain?.

Dr Adu-Dapaah noted that ?The bill promotes the breeding of new varieties of plants, aimed at improving the quantity, quality and cost of food, fuel, fibre and raw materials for industry and will encourage investment in plant breeding and promote the seed industry?.

Dr Marian Quain a Biotechnologist with CRI stressed that Ghana at the moment did not have any genetically modified crops released unto the Ghanaian market and urged Ghanaians to for once trust the Ghanaian scientists of something good.

Professor Walter Alhassan, a Biotechnology Consultant, appealed to the media to help bridge the gap that has been created and always engage the scientists in their discussions to get the true facts to the public domain.

GNA

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