Ghana Farmers Deeply Affected by GMOs

Ghana Farmers Deeply Affected by GMOs

The Gates Foundation has been pushing genetically modified crops on Africa for decades now, but Ghanaians have been fighting this imposition into their food system with everything they’ve got. Including taking the government to court over the socio-economic impacts of GMOs, the people of Ghana have been stalwart facing the creeping intrusion of GMOs into their country, but the fight for food sovereignty has reached its most vital point since Ghanaians began standing up in 2013.

The public debate has largely centered on how GMOs affect human health and the environment, and these are indeed pertinent; however, the socio-economic ramifications are also considered. In Africa, these are similar to those experienced by farmers of Monsanto’s Bt cotton in India; the introduction and expansion of GM crops into African countries like Ghana can deeply affect profit margins for local farmers, causing some of them to be forced out of farming completely.

Of course, this is the aim of the Gates Foundation and biotechnology – to OWN food from ground to table. But Ghanaian agriculture cannot afford an economy that is designed for the benefit of external interests such as the Gates’ Foundation and the Big Biotech at the expense of the Ghanaian people.

The Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA) has already warned of detrimental consequences on Ghana’s non-traditional exports (NTEs) should the country adopt genetically modified organisms (GMOs) into locally cultivated crops. Europe should also be concerned considering it would receive the bulk of Ghana’s GM exports.

In 2014 alone, exports of agricultural products (WTO AoA) from Ghana to Europe stood at € 1335 Million, but many large retailers in Europe are turning away from GMOs due to consumer pressure. The German retailer, REWE, just removed glyphosate from products in over 350 stores, so the pressure to also steer clear of GMOs is palpable by Big Food companies.

Chief Executive Officer of the GEPA, Mr. Gideon Qaurcoo, said in a statement published in the Daily Graphic:

“The potential economic harm would be incalculable if Ghana were to be labelled a GMO haven exporting GM crops to the world.”

Many markets would refuse GM imports from Ghana, also severely affecting Ghana’s economy. Even U.S. sales of foods verified as non-GMO have tripled since 2013 to $15 billion. U.S. sales of organic products were an estimated $28.4 billion in 2012, and were projected to reach $35 billion in 2014.

Consider what has happened in other markets where GMOs were ‘slipped in’ through shady trade deals:

“We have already witnessed Japan’s rejection of papaya shipments from Thailand because the fruit was ‘contaminated’ with GMOs. Thai farmers naturally fear that their own crops might go unsold if GMO use spreads with the government’s blessing.

The supposed ‘benefits’ of using GMOs amount to little if customers shun the produce when it arrives on shelves. Wider use of GMOs would also affect organic farmers – pioneers in a potentially lucrative export market – due to the possibility of airborne spores infecting their carefully nurtured crops” [1]

If Ghanaian authorities really want to support the poor Ghanaian farmer, there is no better time to follow the IAASTD report which recommends low-input, sustainable small-holder models of farming.


[1] SustainablePulse (Featured image from Sustainable Pulse)