The West African country of Ghana announced Friday it would begin testing four genetically modified crops for commercial production. The new GM crops include cowpea, cotton, high-protein sweet potato and nitrogen-efficient, water-efficient and salt-tolerant rice.

The GM cotton, sweet potato and rice are being developed under the Crops Research Institute (CRI) of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research. The Bt cowpea is being developed by the Savanna Agricultural Research Institute (SARI).

Field trials for the Bt cotton and GM rice are already planted and underway, but trials for the cowpea and sweet potato have not been done, according to

The news about the four new GM crops was announced at an event held for journalists to help them report on the issues of biotechnology more accurately.

Eric Okoree, a representative of the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, said a technical advisory committee had been formed to conduct risk assessment into all GM applications in the country, adding that institutional bio-safety had been certified for two research institutions—the CRI and the SARI, reported.