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10.01.2005 Regional News

Oxfam urges NGOs to invest in farming

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Tamale, Jan. 10, GNA - Mr Salifu Samson Danse, Country Programme Manager of Oxfam, a British Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) on Friday called on NGOs and other corporate bodies to adopt strategies to empower farmers by way of capacity building.

They should also advocate and lobby policy makers to recognise and fully appreciate the efforts and importance of farmers. Mr Danse made the appeal at the launch of Oxfam Peasant Farmers' Association aimed at helping farmers to form bodies to collaborate to enable them to benefit from their activities.

He said NGOs should also direct their assistance and support in investing in farming particularly in rural areas to increase productivity and to help in salvaging the economies of the developing countries to lessen their economic dependency on developed countries. Some 35-peasant farmers from the Upper East, Upper West and the Northern regions attended the function.

He pointed out that farming was the mainstay of the economies of developing countries and said given the needed support peasant farmers could produce enough food to feed their nations and "bail" themselves out of poverty.

Farmers should educate themselves to understand that they had a right to be heard, he said adding that, they could influence policy makers to enact laws to make farming lucrative.

He pointed out that the movement was non-partisan and nationwide as a pressure group to demand good policies from the government and the private sector.

Mr Chris Martin, a musician of "Cold Play" fame of UK, on a 5-day visit to the Ghana office of Oxfam, launched the Association, saying, his involvement in farmers' issues in Africa was due to the unjust policies and practices of rich nations and multi-national institutions against developing countries.

He commended Oxfam's "Make Trade Fair Campaign," describing it as a "good motive," to help developing nations to stand on their feet.

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