The Ghana Trade and Livelihoods Coalition (GTLC) has appealed to the governments of Ghana and Burkina Faso to facilitate an unconditional implementation of the protocol on the free movement of persons, goods and services within the West African sub-region.
“Governments of the two countries should support and facilitate the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Trade Liberalisation Scheme as against the European Union (EU) Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) and use the Common External Tariff (CET) as a means to safeguard the regional market”, the coalition stated.
The National Co-ordinator of the coalition, Mr Ibrahim Akalbila, made the call at an international durbar of farmers from Ghana and Burkina Faso held at Navrongo in the Kassena-Nankana District of the Upper East Region.
The durbar was on the theme: “Securing the Implementation of ECOWAP and Not Free Trade Agreements”.
The coalition is a nationwide advocacy organisation made up of 60 farmers and producer groups, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and community-based organisations (CBOs) that are striving for agriculture and trade justice for the growth of the local food crop sector.
The national co-ordinator noted that since the early 1980s, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank had succeeded through the Economic Recovery Programme and the Structural Adjustment Programme, in pushing policies that were inimical to the development of agriculture in West Africa.
Mr Akalbila urged the governments of Ghana and Burkina Faso to develop mechanisms to ensure wider participation of the general public in issues of integration and said there was the need for both countries to implement the ECOWAS Agriculture Policy (ECOWAP), since it provided all the safeguards and protection for the development of agriculture in the sub-region.
He said that the ECOWAP had laudable objectives such as ensuring food security for rural and urban populations.
The national co-ordinator called on small-scale farmers and producers from Ghana and Burkina Faso to build on the existing relationships between the two countries to influence their own destinies.
The President of the Peasant Farmers Association of Ghana (PFAG), Mr Mohammed Adam Nashiru, advised the government of Ghana to reconsider signing the EPAs until all issues had carefully been looked at.
He said in the United States of America (USA) the government was subsidising farmers' production to the tune of $6 billion every year and urged the government of Ghana to make farming a lucrative venture through subsidy of farmers' production.
Story by Samuel Abaane