Ghana's Farmers Call For Bt Cotton Adoption

Date Posted: December 4, 2013

Ghana Minister Pledges Support for Biotechnology

Women farmers harvest cotton in Ghana

(ISAAA) -- Cotton farmers in Ghana have called for the speedy adoption of Bt cotton to revamp cotton production in the country. The farmers who were joined by other stakeholders in the sector issued the call through a communiqué to the Ministers of Agriculture, Trade and industry and Science Technology.

The farmers issued the communiqué on 28 November 2013, at the end of a two-day biotechnology and biosafety sensitization workshop organized by the country's leading research institute – The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in partnership with various other international partners including ISAAA AfriCenter in Tamale, Northern Ghana.

Farmers decried the fact that they were lagging behind compared to their counterparts in Burkina Faso. "We didn't know the secret, but now we do. Northern Ghana has the same climatic conditions as Burkina Faso. Therefore why can't we expect to be able to emulate their success with Bt cotton farming? We hope the ongoing research on Bt cotton can be hastened by the government and the scientists so that we can enhance our cotton productivity," noted Mr. Abdulrahman Mohamed, Chair of Cotton Farmers Association.

In addition to Bt cotton, there are currently three other biotech crops at different research trial stages in Ghana. They include Bt cowpea, high protein sweet potato and NEWEST rice. The country is expected to commercialize Bt cotton by 2015.

Ghana Minister Pledges Support for Biotechnology

(ISAAA) -- Ghana's Deputy Minister for Trade and Industry Nii Lantey Vanderpuye has reaffirmed the commitment of his government to introduce Bt cotton farming. The Minister made the declaration when he visited the Bt cotton and Bt cowpea trial sites on 29 November in Tamale, Ghana.

The Minister noted that the government was concerned that the country's cotton production was well below potential and that the government had identified introducing Bt cotton as one of the strategies for revamping the sector.

"We pledge our support to these wonderful innovations by our scientists. The government is very committed to improving agricultural productivity in the country by adopting more high yielding crop varieties like the Bt cotton and Bt cowpea varieties that I have seen being developed here by scientists from the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR)", noted the Minister. During the event the Minister received a communiqué from cotton farmers in the region petitioning the government and its researchers to hasten the process for them to officially start growing Bt cotton.

Ghana is among a growing number of African countries to show positive progress towards adopting agricultural biotechnology. Significant development within the sector in the country lately have included, the promulgation of the Biosafety Act (Act 831) in 2011 and subsequent research work that is currently ongoing within the country on various biotech crops including Bt cotton, Bt cowpea, high protein sweet potato and NEWEST rice.

Bt cotton is currently under limited open field trials in the Northern region of the country.