Brong Ahafo chiefs, farmers vow to vote out MPs if…


Chiefs and Peasant Farmers in the Brong Ahafo Region have vowed to vote against all Members of Parliament (MPs) in the next year’s election if they ignore their calls and pass the Plant Breeders Bill into law.

The bill, which is designed to allow the introduction of Genetically Modified Organism into the country is currently before the House and is believed to be at the consideration stage.

But traditional leaders and farmers across the country have opposed the bill, saying that the introduction of GMOs will have direct consequences on conventional farming methods and jeopardise the livelihoods of rural farmers.

The Brong Ahafo Chiefs and people have joined the chorus to stop the introduction of the breed and issued the warning at a Policy Dialogue in Techiman organised by the Peasant Farmers Association of Ghana (PFAG) with support from STAR-Ghana last week.

A sub-chief in Techiman, Nana Ameyaw Manu, who doubles as the Vice President of PFAG lamented over the attitude of MPs towards the people they were elected to represent.

He said it was regrettable that MPs flagrantly refused to meet with farmers and listen to their concerns after they have been voted into Parliament.

Nana Ameyaw said the people of the region play a significant role in the socio economic development of the country and deserve better from their representatives.

Maize, cassava, yam, cowpea, tomatoes, plantain, oranges, cashew and cocoa are among the numerous things produced in large quantities by farmers in the region.

He warned MPs from the region not to support any move by Parliament to pass the plant breeders bill into law.

According to him, the country’s farmers are capable of producing sufficient food to meet domestic consumption and for export provided challenges such as market access, extension services, and credit to farmers, mechanization, feeder road networks and irrigation services are addressed.

Contributing to the discussion, Nana Kwaw Adams, Benkumhene of Techiman Traditional area, said categorically that any MP from Brong Ahafo who votes for the bill will be voted out come 2016.

He added that reliance on organic farming is the solution to challenges such as soil infertility and climate change.

Nana Adams believes the PBB will legalise the introduction of GMOs when passed into law and will give more power to multinational seed companies to take control of indigenous seeds since Ghanaian farmers and scientist do not have the capacity to engineer seeds.

In response, the Presiding Member of the Techiman Municipal Assembly, Kwesi Yeboah Asuame, who represented the DCE at the forum, assured the farmers of the assembly’s continued support.

According to the Programme Officer of PFAG, Charles Kwowe Nyaaba, “in 2011/2012 farming season 40% of maize produced in the region went wasted due to post harvest lost, lack of storage facilities and inadequate feeder roads from farm gates to the marketing centres, indication that we have the capacity to produced for consumption and for export provided these challenges are addressed”. He therefore recommended the solution to global food shortage is to address problems facing small holder farmers not introduction of bills and laws that will take ownership of seeds and land from farmers.

The meeting brought together over 150 farmer leaders from Kintampo North and South Districts, Techiman North and South Districts, Nkoranza North and South Districts, Wenchi, Ejura Sekyere Domase, Tain ,  directors of agriculture, DCEs, DCD, Chiefs and other stakeholders in the agricultural sector from nine districts in the region.

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