Stakeholders at a forum organized in Bolgatanga have said agriculture would be crippled should Parliament pass the Plant Breeders Bill.
The forum, organized by the Peasant Farmers Association of Ghana (PFAG) and sponsored by STAR-Ghana, brought together civil society organizations, smallholder farmers, District Directors of Ghana Health Service and Directors of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture from the Northern, Upper East and Upper West regions.
They said if the bill was passed, smallholder farmers who contributed largely to the growth of the agriculture sector could not afford to continuously purchase genetically modified seeds from multinational companies.
They were of the view that if the genetically modified seeds were introduced farmers would have to purchase the seeds every farming season instead of their traditional seeds which could be stored.
The modified seeds also had the tendency to corrupt the indigenous crops and force farmers to become dependent on them.
They therefore called on Parliament not to pass the bill since it would have serious consequences on agriculture.
The President of the PFAG, Mr Mohammed Abdul-Rahaman, said withdrawal of the government subsidy on fertilizer had affected agriculture and appealed to the government to bring back the fertilizer subsidy.
The Programme Officer of the PFAG, Mr Charles Nyaba, said even though smallholder farmers contributed about 80 cent of the labour force in the agriculture sector and more than 90 per cent to the Gross Domestic Product, they found it difficult to access health care.
He said research conducted in some communities in the Northern, Upper East and Upper West regions supported by STAR-Ghana, confirmed that challenges like lack of health infrastructure, transportation, shortage of health professionals as well as poor attitude of health workers towards them made accessing health care difficult.
Most of the smallholder farmers, he stressed, had to travel long distances to access health care and the situation was even worse for pregnant women.
Another major health challenge facing smallholder farmers was the inadequate knowledge of the operation of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) particularly information about renewal and registration of the cards.
Mr Nyaba said through support they got from STAR-Ghana, his outfit had been able to facilitate education and engagements in some districts between the farmers and health providers which had brought an appreciable level of changes.
|Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are those of the writers and do not reflect those of Peacefmonline.com. Peacefmonline.com accepts no responsibility legal or otherwise for their accuracy of content. Please report any inappropriate content to us, and we will evaluate it as a matter of priority.|