UNCLAS ACCRA 000059
DEPARTMENT FOR AF/W AND EEB/TPP/MTAA/ABT - MARCELA SYMANSKI AND JACK
USDA FOR FAS/OSTA/ED PORTER AND FARAH NAIM
USAID FOR EGAT/ESP - ROB BETRAM AND JOSETTE LEWIS
LAGOS FOR AGRICULTURAL ATTACHE ALI ABDI
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAGR, TBIO, SENV, EAID, ECON, GH
SUBJECT: PROPOSAL FOR U.S. BIOTECH SPEAKER TO VISIT GHANA IN FY
REFS: A. 09 STATE 122732
B. 09 ABUJA 1682
SUMMARY: Embassy Accra requests $13,700 in FY 2010 EEB biotech
outreach funds for a U.S. biotechnology expert in agricultural
production and development to visit Ghana for one week to engage
with government officials and legislators, academics, public
audiences, and the media on the merits of biotechnology and the
importance of regulating biotech products. END SUMMARY.
Per Ref A request, Embassy Accra requests $13,700 in FY 2010 EEB
biotech outreach funds in order to fund a one-week public speaking
visit to Ghana of a U.S. expert on agricultural biotechnology.
Biotech Background in Ghana
Ghana has not yet adopted comprehensive legislation regulating
the production and sale of biotech pQducts. The Government of
Ghana is currently considering a draft Biosafety Bill that was
prepared with international technical assistance (including from
USAID), but the draft legislation has not yet been submitted to the
Parliament. In May 2008, the Parliament did pass a Biosafety
Legislative Instrument, which allows for field trials of biotech
products, but not their commercialization. The Legislative
Instrument thus allows for scientific advancement in Ghana while the
executive and legislative branches of government continue to
consider the merits of a comprehensive biosafety law.
Public opinion on biotechnology is divided, with some editorials
questioning the wisdom and safety of genetically engineered crops.
Other observers have argued that the higher crop yields and the
greater resistance to pests associated with genetically modified
seeds could help Ghana more effectively deal with issues of food
security and the likely impact on farming from climate change.
While public opinion remains divided, some biotech products are
already being sold in Ghana. In addition, genetically modified
cotton and other crops, which are grown in Burkina Faso (Ghana's
northern neighbor), may already be growing in Northern Ghana, or
these seeds will soon migrate to and be grown in that region of the
country. While current law allows for field trials of biotech
crops, no experimental fields are currently under cultivation, as
far as we are aware, though some U.S. companies have begun the
procsses of requesting permission to engage in such trials in
U.S. food exports to Ghana, valued at $86 million in 2008,
consist primarily of rice, poultry and consumer products. Ghana is
the largest commercial market for U.S. rice in West Africa, with
U.S. producers maintaining about a third of the Ghanaian rice market
over the last several years.
Biotech Speaker Program
Given that the current biotech state of play in Ghana is similar
to that in Nigeria, where a U.S. biotech speaker was successfully
programmed in FY 2009 (Ref B), we believe that a U.S. biotechnology
expert could meaningfully engage with government officials and
legislators, academics, public audiencies, and the media about the
merits of agricultural biotechnology. We anticipate that a U.S.
expert could visit for one week and engage with Ghanaian audiences
in Accra (two days), Kumasi (two days) and Tamale (one day), which
are located in key growing regions.
We would work with Ghana's National Biosafety Committee to
program the U.S. expert speaker, as well as with other local expert
groups in Ghana, including biotechnology experts at the Forum for
Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA), which is based in Accra, and
at Ghana's Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).
In Accra, the speaker could engage with executive and legislative
branch officials on the merits of biotechnology. In addition, the
visit coul include local radio and TV interviews, and a media
roundtable event at which journalists could interact with the U.S.
expert. Media events may also include local Ghanaian agricultural
specialists, in order to encourage a healthy debate on the subject
of biotechnology and how advanced science could help Ghana more
effectively deal with issues of food security and the likely impact
on farming from climate change. The visit may also include an
embassy-hosted event at which government and legislative
decision-makers could interact with biotechnology and agricultural
experts. There could also be public speaking events at FARA, CSIR,
the University of Ghana in Accra, the Kwami Nkrumah University of
Science & Technology in Kumasi, and the University for Development
Studies in Tamale.
We anticipate the total cost of a one-week visit would be
$13,700, as follows:
$7,000: Travel, lodging and per diem for U.S. Speaker
$1,000: Travel, lodging and per diem for one embassy officer to
join U.S. speaker in Kumasi and Tamale
$1,600: Fuel for embassy motorpool vehicle, lodging and per diem
for embassy driver in Kumasi and Tamale
$1,000: Honoraria for U.S. speaker
$1,000: Travel, lodging and per diem for one Ghanaian biotechnology
and agricultural specialist to participate in events in Kumasi and
$1,500: Expenses for hall rentals, refreshments and meals at U.S.
$600: Honoraria for Ghanaian specialists at events
Embassy points of contact for this proposal are Regional
Environment, Science and Technology Officer Aaron Fishman
(email@example.com), Agricultural Attache Ali Abdi (based in
Lagos; firstname.lastname@example.org), and USAID Ghana Agricultural Adviser
John Mullenax (email@example.com).