While the eyes of most of the nation were focused on World Cup soccer action in Brazil last summer, Monsanto and other large multi-nationals were maneuvering behind the scenes to gain access to Ghana through new seed rules designed to open the doors to a host of huge agribusinesses.
But now, the country’s Plant Breeder’s Bill giving intellectual property rights that would allow such companies to patent seed varieties they lay claim to is under intense scrutiny, according to this article from the World Development Movement’s website, which could threaten its passage in the African nation of almost 26 million people.
The article notes that the government had hoped to keep the bill under the radar, but their plans have not been going well ever since. The government was widely criticized for introducing the bill’s key Second Reading (when large changes are often made) during a World Cup qualifying match against Egypt.
The group Food Sovereignty Ghana, trade unionists and farmer’s groups all rallied against it, so the government held back on it until Team Ghana’s June appearance in the actual World Cup, when they attempted to pass the bill into law, a plan that failed.
This month, those plans suffered another setback as it was returned to its Second Reading phase in order to more effectively address widespread concerns against the bill, which would allow corporations like Monsanto to not have to disclose the origin of new genetically modified seeds in the country.
Emboldened by the break in the action, Ghana’s independent farmers and campaigners have been given more time to mobilize against the so-called “Monsanto Law.”
The UK is currently supporting it, however, despite opposition in that country of 5,000 emails asking them to stop backing it.
Thanks to their support, at least 89 British MPs have signed a “Seed Sovereignty” early day motion in support of food and seed freedom in Ghana, which has been tabled.
Ghana farmers have since expressed their gratitude for the support from the UK according to the article.
The happenings in Ghana are yet another example of how Biotech companies like Monsanto have continued using various tactics to introduce their “technology” to companies that otherwise wouldn’t want it.
Haitian farmers for example organized burnings of GMO seeds after they were given as earthquake aid, while a nation once known as Russia’s breadbasket, Ukraine, is currently being infiltrated by pro-Biotech companies seeking to take advantage of the unstable political climate there. Wikileaks cables have also revealed that the U.S. uses taxpayer money to push GMOs on nations that do not otherwise want them.