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Women farmers urge ECOWAS to push back GM crops



KILIMANJARO Women Farmers initiative has called on the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) parliament to assist them in the campaign against the commercialisation of genetically-modified (GM) crops in Africa.

The women noted that GM seeds alter the properties of any soil where they were planted, rendering it useless for indigenous crops, adding that “the seeds can only be planted once, as they cannot be recycled.”

Health-wise, studies have proven that consumption of GM foods is cancerous and dangerous to human health, not counting high post-harvest losses. Chairperson of the initiative, Lovelyn Ejim, made the appeal in a communiqué issued at the end of a two-day meeting to mark the second anniversary of the organisation.

She stressed the urgent need to reduce influence of GM organisms to the rural farmers. “We are pushing very had to raise awareness among women farmers; that is why we appeal to the government and ECOWAS parliamentarians to help campaign against GMO because the more they deploy efforts to campaign against it the more awareness that would be created,” she said.

Member of the initiative’s steering committee, Tiwonge Fondue, while reading the communiqué, urged African governments to implement the Maputo Declaration that encourages countries to allocate 10 per cent and beyond of their budgets to agriculture.

The forum established by Oxfam also urged ECOWAS countries to initiate laws that would allow market access beyond the borders of African countries to the global market.It also canvassed investment in infrastructure for value addition in rural areas, especially renewable energy, roads, adaptable techniques and storage facilities.

Advocating the need for African countries and regions to have policies and laws that promote land access, ownership and control, the forum called on the governments to set up a trust fund on affirmative action for rural women to ease access to credit.

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