The western African country of Ghana has begun testing four genetically modified (GM) crops, including cotton, for commercial production.
The new GM crops would include Bacillus Thuringiensis (BT) cotton as well as rice, cowpea and potato. BT is a pesticide which is used to control the bollworms in cotton.
Field trials for the BT cotton are already planted and underway, in selected areas of the country. The trials are being conducted by Crops Research Institute (CRI) of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and the Savanna Agricultural Research Institute (SARI).
Ghana’s National Biosafety Committee (NBC) gave the approval to conduct such tests following the promulgation of the country’s Biosafety Act, 2011 (Act 831).
The field cultivation for BT cotton, which commenced in June, 2013, is ongoing at six locations in six different districts in the northern part of the country.
Currently there are no commercial GM crops grown in Ghana, but advocates of the GM technology believe that the adoption of GM cultivation would have significant benefits for farmers, consumers as well as the environment.
In Africa, Burkina Faso and South Africa are the only countries that commercially grow genetically modified cotton, in order to increase yields and improve profits of the small scale cotton farmers.
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