14th Biennial Workshop : Scientific and Technological Research Towards National Development: The Case of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs)

The 14th Biennial Workshop of the Ghana Science Association will be held in collaboration with stakeholders on Thursday, 7th August 2014 at the University of Cape Coast, Cape Coast

The theme for the workshop is

“Scientific and Technological Research Towards National Development: The Case of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs)”

 

Background
Scientific and technological researches have undoubtedly played a critical role in the socio-economic development of countries around the world, especially those of the developed world. One underlining factor that has facilitated the success of scientific research towards the economic development of these developed countries is the huge investments made in Science and Technology by governments, non-governmental organizations, industries, universities and individuals. This has resulted in enormous gains on all fronts of their economies.

This cannot be said of many developing countries including Ghana, where there are numerous opportunities for scientific research similar to those of the developed world. The absence of critical government and corporate funding to support scientific research to help generate data that will inform policy tailored towards national growth stifles any meaningful impact science could have on Ghana’s development.

Due to the minimal support for research in science and technology in the country, the nation has no other choice than to accept and utilize discoveries of scientists abroad. To this end, a number of research areas in science and technology need urgent attention. For example, there are currently heated debates on plant breeding and genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in Ghana. GMOs are organisms whose genetic material (DNA) has been modified by the introduction of a gene from a different organism through genetic engineering. Although GMOs have been on the world market since 1996, the Ghanaian populace, with not much informed knowledge, is continually skeptical about the safety of such products. Issues of food safety, biodiversity benefit sharing and intellectual property suggest the need for careful consideration of the benefits and burdens of biotechnology. We have taken notice of the fact that in recent times, following news that Ghana has begun confined field trials of some GM crops, there have been some media discussions on whether or not Ghana is treading the right path, which discussions came on the heels of agitations and demonstrations against GMOs by segments of the Ghanaian society.

The Ghana Science Association, through this workshop, aims to create a platform for a continued discussion of the issues surrounding GMOs at the national level on the way forward and how to negotiate the sticking points.

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