By Gloria Anderson
The African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF) has lauded the progress Ghana has made so far in commercialising the BT cowpea. Although the process has taken more than 12 years, the AATF is satisfied that at least the Ghana Biosafety Authority has cleared the BT cowpea as safe and is still undergoing further investigations and due process.
The Executive Director of the AATF, Dr. Canisius Kanangire, urged the public to dispel the myths surrounding the biotech product. He insisted that they are safe to consume and have no future medical implications.
African Agricultural Technology Foundation is concerned about farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa and providing them with practical technology solutions capable of addressing their farm productivity constraints and improving their livelihoods.
It was founded in 2003 to address Africa’s food security prospects through agricultural technology, AATF believes that the agricultural sector is a key foundational pillar as Africa consolidates its economic growth and carves out its new position as a major global economic powerhouse and the next growth market in the world.
Scientist, researchers, and Project Officers from Ghana, Burkina Faso, Niger, and Nigeria are meeting to review projects executed in the last year and also plan for the next year.
The Executive Director of AATF, Dr. Canisius Kanangire, said an urgent challenge in the 21st century is ending hunger and malnutrition in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), and the use of new technologies will be of great help to achieving this.
Dr. Canisius Kanangire said the AFTF is satisfied with the significant progress Ghana is making towards cowpea commercialisation.
“We are very happy and satisfied with the progress that Ghana is making, with the commitment that researchers and policymakers are taking to make the products available for Ghanaian farmers.”
Dr. Kanangire said he and other scientists have tested food dishes made from the BT cowpea and can confirm that they are safe for human consumption. He said the commercialization of the BT cowpea will ensure food safety.
Mr. Kanangire said the misconceptions and misinformation about biotechnology in general and the BT cowpea can be curbed by creating awareness and sharing knowledge about the safety of biotech products and how the products are performing to stakeholders, farmers, and consumers because the products undergo various tests before being approved and how the livelihood of farmers is improved by cultivating it.
The participants from the five countries will each review progress made in their various countries and together develop a road map to address challenges encountered.