The Food Sovereignty Platform (FSP) is calling on President Nana Akufo-Addo not to assent to the Plant Variety Protection Bill passed by Parliament.
According to the group, the recently approved Bill, which is under the International Union for the protection of new varieties of plants (UPOV) is inimical to smallholder farmers and undermines farmers’ right.
The group argue that, the Bill will undermine Ghana’s sovereignty and violate the Ghanaian value system by placing the rights of large corporations of commercial plant breeders over that of farmers thus a threat to Ghana’s private seed breeders.
Speaking at a press conference in Bolgatanga, National President of the Peasant Farmers Association of Ghana, Abdul-Rahman Mohammed, impressed on President Akufo-Addo to suspend any action of assenting the Bill into law.
Mr. Mohammed also accused parliament of betraying them but called on government to work at getting a bill that promotes the rights of both farmers’ and seed breeders’.
He further threatened that; they will explore all avenues possible to ensure the plight of farmers is addressed in the Bill.
“As the Bill is based on UPOV 91, it is designed to strengthen the power of the largest global seed companies and will put the Ghanaian seed companies at a disadvantage. We are left to wonder in whose interest this bill is serving if the government has not even been moved to consider the prospect of the bill promoting bio-piracy of Ghana’s genetic resources and infringing on the Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit-sharing, of which Ghana is a signatory by ratification”.
“We would therefore request President Nana Akufo-Addo to give ear to the wisdom of Ghanaian farmers and hold on the Bill and further call for open and transparent engagement of all stakeholders. Our platform will explore all avenues legally and socially permissible to oppose this obnoxious Bill and fight for the rights, life and dignity of the smallholder farmer. By assenting to this Bill will mean President Nana Akufo-Addo does not have Ghanaian farmers and agriculture at heart”.