A National Seminar on the Arusha Protocol for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants has ended in Accra, with a call on Parliament to speed up passage of the national plant breeder protection bill.
The Bill, when passed into law, will afford farmers the opportunity to use a variety of new seeds in planting which will increase productivity and contribute to economic growth.
Addressing participants at the seminar, the Deputy Minister for Agriculture in Charge of Perennial Crops, Mr William Quaittoo, indicated that new varieties of planting were a crucial means of delivering new technologies to farmers and growers which ultimately would offer benefits to consumers and farmers such as reduced cost of high quality food and efficient land use.
Mr Quaittoo noted that governments worldwide were under pressure to ensure sustainable food security and economic development for citizens which called for both formal and informal sectors to form alliances that will serve the need of the country.
Mr Quaittoo observed that though the Crop Research Institute continued to breed new improved seeds there were no protection system in place making the new varieties created been appropriated by other countries and businesses who used them for free without any acknowledgment.
In a statement read on her behalf, the Minister for Justice and Attorney-General, Madam Gloria Akuffo, said the bill, when passed, would establish a legal framework to protect the rights of breeders of new varieties of plants and promote the breeding of new varieties of plants aimed at improving quantity, quality and cost of food, fuel and raw materials for industry.
Madam Akufo disclosed that the bill was before Parliament and had gone through extensive consultation with various stakeholders.
She expressed regret that although a lot of intellectual property rights protection existed for everyone in society that create innovations and added value to quality of life, the hard work of plant breeders had been denied.
A Representative of the African Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO), Mr Emmanuel Sackey, argued that there was the need to create an enabling environment for the youth so that many would be comfortable to share their talents by creating innovations that would contribute to economic growth with the mindset that these innovations would be protected and owned by them.
Mr Sackey was of the view that government should fast track the passage of the bill for protection of new varieties of plant breeders as the time had come for Ghana to use the agricultural sector to create wealth for the country and more jobs for the unemployed youth.