One of the research scientists, Dr
He said the choice of the two crops for genes modification was based on the resistance of pests that were affecting the production of the crops.
"Apart from the economic cost of having to purchase a lot of chemicals to spray the cotton plant because of the ball worm that attacked it, the effect of the chemicals on the farmers and the environmental pollution associated with the exercise is a major concern to stakeholders,' he pointed out.
He said a successful modification of the genes of cotton made it very difficult for the ball worm to survive after eating part of the cotton ball, adding that the technology was currently being used by
With Cowpea, Dr Atokple said the gene modification of the plant also helped to control the maruku insect that had been worrying the conventional cowpea plant.
"The excessive use of chemicals to spray the conventional cowpea as a pest control measure could create health problems for consumers as the seeds may contain some remnants of the chemicals,' he explained.
He said the genetically modified cowpea would, therefore, ensure better yields and quality cowpea seeds for the farmers while guaranteeing health safety for consumers.
Dr Atokple said the research into the two crops by SARI would be strictly monitored by other scientists for about six to eight years to ensure that they met international specifications before they could be certified as genetically modified crops.
Countries that approve of GMCs
But there are some in the country, including Food Sovereignty Ghana, an advocacy movement, who see the introduction of GM crops as a risky venture for the country considering that a majority of farmers who are illiterates would find it difficult if not impossible to cultivate modified crops.
In a blog posted on the Internet by Npong Balikawu Francis, a multi-media journalist and blogger, titled; "Tread Cautiously on GMOs, crop scientist warns
He is of the view that the country can adopt Bt cotton (GMO crop) to improve the lot of farmers such as
So far only four African countries, namely
On the other hand,
But, a report published on
It points out that GM crops have been subjected to more testing worldwide than new non-modified varieties, citing reports from the
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