Israel D.K. Agorsor, Levi Yafetto, Emmanuel P. Otwe, and Isaac K.A. Galyuon
University of Cape Coast, Ghana

Genetically engineered (GE) crops have a role to play in increasing agricultural productivity. However, efforts to promote genetic engineering agriculture in Africa have been met with some amount of resistance. Here, we report recent efforts to promote GE agriculture in Ghana, a West African nation considered one of Africa’s model democracies and growing economies. Ghana is currently running confined field trials of some selected GE crops, but analysis of ongoing genetically modified organism (GMO) debates and published opinions shows a considerable amount of opposition to GE agriculture and GMOs in Ghana. This notwithstanding, we suggest that Bt cotton cultivation in Burkina Faso—Ghana’s immediate neighbor to the north—may play a role in eventually putting Ghana on the map of GE agriculture countries, a phenomenon reported elsewhere which we have described in this article as the ‘next-door neighbor effect.’ The biosafety implications of the ‘next-door neighbor effect’ are also discussed here. We conclude that the ‘next-door neighbor effect’—in addition to corporate and political interests— will explain the entry of GE crops into some new markets.

Key words: Ghana, GMO adoption debates, GE agriculture, next-door neighbor effect, confined field trials.