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General News
Govt will not accept unfavourable international agreements 9/4/2007
Koforidua, Aug.31, GNA- The Ministry of Trade, Industry and President Special Initiatives will advice government against accepting any agreement under the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) that would negatively affect the economic interest of farmers in the country. Mr. Vital Augustine Agbley, the Director of the Ministry in charge of the Volta and Eastern Regions, who disclosed this, said the Government was committed to assisting farmers to produce sensitive local farm produce.

He was speaking at the formal opening of a four-day international workshop on the production of sensitive produce in agriculture in relationship with ongoing discussions on the EPA, for leaders of farmers'' organizations in the country Farmers Organization Network in Ghana (FONG), organized the workshop in collaboration with West Africa Network for Peasant Organizations and Agriculture Producers (ROPPA).

He said the Ministry had established a tariff board to advice government on how to use the tariff regime to protect the interest of local farmers.

Mr Agbley called on farmers in the country to form effective associations to advocate their concerns to ensure that officials considered their interest when formulating national policies. Mr. Mamadu Cissikho, president of ROPPA, observed that even though 85 per cent of agriculture produce in West Africa came from small-scale farmers, they were often poor and malnourished. He explained that this was because the West African market had been liberalised for foreign cheap agriculture produce to compete with the local produce to the extent that the produce of local farmers could not be sold.

Mr. Cissikho said it was time Africans fought for better agreements at all levels towards the improvement of agriculture sector. He said that while the African market was opened to goods from Europe, even after the signing of the EPA in December 31st this year, it would take 12 years for the European market to be opened to agriculture produce from Africa.

Dr. King David Amoah, the National President of FONG, observed that most agriculture trade policies, both local and international, were not in favour of small-scale farmers but rather screwed in favour of large-scale agricultural producers.

He said such conditions had led to the perpetuation of poverty among local farmers in the country, a situation that could make the realisation of the Millennium Development Goals difficult.Source:

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