Acceptance of biotechnology and social-cultural implications in Ghana
AbstractDespite major scientific progress in the application of biotechnology in agriculture, public attitudes towards biotechnology in general and genetically modified food (GM food) products in particular remain
mixed in Africa. Examining responses on acceptance of GM food through a stakeholder survey in Ghana, it was established that half of the 100 people sample interviewed were not in favor of GM foods.
To this group acceptance of GM foods would make farmers loose focus on the traditional ways of cultivation, putting the whole nation at the mercy of profit driven foreign companies who produce GM foods. In order to have clear and unbiased attitudes towards agricultural biotechnology in Africa, there is the need to substitute dominant ideologies in the way biotechnology research and dissemination are
conducted in developed countries with tailor-made methodologies in developing countries. This paper emphasizes the social dynamic force of food focusing on the need for social shaping of biotechnologies to reflect local and regional needs. Respondents’ perceptions of GM foods suggest that food is seen as not just a commodity to be consumed but food has both cultural and national identities. Generally, people are identified by their consumption and nutrition lifestyles and therefore
take pride in what they eat. A proposal is made to set biotechnology research agenda in the context of social choices; social scientific coalition of biotechnology with endogenous development pathways’ as
opposed to ‘exogenous biotechnology research’. Also there is the need for adequate capacity building of the existing regulatory institutions to handle ethical and moral issues associated with biotechnology
research since survey findings showed lacked of public confidence in them.