Wednesday, September 26, 2012

My Wife Detests GMOs But She's A Great Patronist

Npong shopping vegetables inside Tamale Central Market. Display are GMO tomatoes, pepper. 
Here i am in a crowded market. It’s just stopped raining and business as usual has resummed with people pushing pass each other, stopping by vendors of assorted items a market can offer. There are no rules of engagement here. The best shopper here is one with bargaining power, and that depicts a rare african market, a case in Tamale central market.

The market looked dangerously constructed, the walking lanes are narrow. Trucker pushers and owners worsened the situatuion as they force their ways through these narrow lanes, carelessly pushing shoppers side by side and some instances block the lane to offload their carriage.

I was not sure of what my wife meant when she stressed “buy fresh and good looking peper, tomatoes, okra, and salt? Do we have fresh and good looking salt too? I asked.

“Be sure not to also buy chemically induced vegetables for me, you know i am careful of my family’s health”, she commanded.

My wife is among millions of people in the world who habor bad feelings about genetically modified foods (GMOs). But she would not object to cakes, cholates made from genetically modified wheat as gift, fresh and good looking vegetables who genes have been modified to improve their desired traits such as good looking, nutritional content, it’s durabitity among other things.

Scientists are currently battling to correct the notion that GMOs are dangerous to health. According to Professor Wayne Powell from the university of Aberystwyth, the modification of plants in the laboratory is to enhance their desired traits such as increased resistance to herbicides, pesticides, drought or improved their nutritional content and that nothing dangerous about the use of GMOs has been scientifically established. Prof. Powell was addressing seasoned journalists in Ghana who took part in in workshop on initiating dialogue on plants breeding, genetics and bioscience for farming organised by Bioscience for Farming in Africa (B4FA) for some selected sceince reporters held in Accra.
Npong and friend Mohammed Nurudeen doing some veg buying

He explained that, GM technology was developed after the second war II to help boost agriculture to meet global food supply. GM process involves the transfer of genes responsible for desired traits of plants such as drought and insects tolerance, or high nutritional content into a different plant. 

The best known example of this is the use of Bacillus thuringiensis (B.t. genes) used in corn and other crops.
He also disapproved negative comments associated to GM products and that GMOs are to ensure regular food supply to the increasing population by controlling pests, crops diseases and improving their nutritional content for the wellbeing of both humans and animals.

My wife has been a great patronist of GMO products at the sametime she detests it. She would not reject genetically modified wheat cholate, biscuit, neither would she buy bad looking vegetable from the market. Her attitude towards GMO s stem from protests and rumours making round alleging the dangers associated to GMOs. Ironically, my wife would also not go anywhere without her GSM cell phone which scienctists say are dangerous than the consumption of GMOs.   

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Ghana Kick-starts Validation of Climate Change Policy Framework

The government of Ghana has started a nationwide validation of a draft climate change policy document to support the formulation of climate resilient policies and programmes to enable the state to adjust to cope with the challenges and impacts of climate change and global warming on development.
The National Climate Change Policy (NCCP) is to provide strategic direction and co-ordinate issues of climate change in Ghana. The NCCP surpasses ‘traditional’ climate change policy areas of adaptation and mitigation. It emphasises that social development is vital for, and cuts across, both of these areas.
The Director of the Ministry of Environement, Science, and Technology Mr. Fredua Agyeman said that the document after the validation would be laid before parliament for approval and adoption to become a national working document.
At a validation workshop organised for civil society organisations in Accra, the Director of MEST said that, the validation would ensure that the document was widely accepted by Ghanaians.
The Director who was addressing civil socieity organisation on behalf of the sector Minister Madam Sherry Ayittey pointed out that climate change which is a threat to livelihood affects Ghana’s economic performance and development prospects.
“Ghana’s climate is changing as a result of increased global emissions of greenhouse gases, with rising temperatures, erratic rainfall, floods and more weather extremes”, he said.
Africa the minister said is currently, faced with challenges of floods, and droughts that have affected thousands of peole socially, economically and development.
Climate change the minister said is now everybody’s business, and stakeholders need to be part in developing a National Climate Change Policy Framework (NCCPF) to ensure a climate resilient and climate compatible economy while achieving sustainable development and equitable low carbon economic growth for Ghana.
“The impact of climate change spans so many sectors, from agriculture to forests, and from health to social protection. Its impact on any or all of these poses a serious threat to our progress on the Millennium Development Goals and to our plans to become a middle income country. That is why we need a harmonised and coordinated climate change response”.
Mr. Agyeman explained that MEST exists to establish a strong national scientific and technological base for accelerated sustainable development of the country to enhance the quality of life for all and that the overall objective of MEST is to ensure accelerated socio-economic development of the nation through the formulation of sound policies and a regulatory frame work to promote the use of appropriate environmentally friendly, scientific and technological practices and techniques hence the climate change policy framework to help Ghana cope with the effects of climate change and its emerging issues.
The Director who acknowledged the complexity of climate change urged the campaigners to break down terminologies involved to the understanding of ordinary person whose life is most affected by the changes for adaptation process.
The He observed that, the recurring floods in parts of the country had cost the country millions of cedis in reconstruction, repairs and relief items. The floods which she blamed on the indiscriminate disposal of plastic waste that choked the major water run-ways also cost Ghana millions of cedis to resettle flood displaced people in Accra.
The government of Ghana spent closed to 62 billion old Ghana cedis on floods relief victims in the northern sector, central and western regions for the past three years. Ghana has had her fair share of the harsh climate effects and could not wait to manage disasters anymore but takes proactive measurse to avoid them hence the national climate change policy framework.
The Director thanked Care international for supporting the country to draft a climate change policy document saying “climate change is a development issues and should be tackled devoid of politization” to help the country cope with natural and man-made disasters.
Professor, Chris Gordon, Dr. Adelina Mensah and Dr. Elaine T. Mensah from the university of Ghana, Legon are leading the validation process.
Some of the participants in an interview after the programme indicated that the effects of climate change on national economy too devastating to wait. They commended the government for taken steps to have a national climate change policy.
Therefore however urged the government to involve civil society organisations in the implementation of the policy framework for effective result. Over fifty civil society organisations across the country participated in the validation process. The government would also be meeting with chiefs, women’s and youth groups, and other stakeholders before the document is placed before parliament.