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12.01.2005 General News

Farmers protest against global food trading policy

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Accra Jan. 12, GNA - The General Agricultural Workers Union (GAWU) of the Trades Union Congress (TUC) on Wednesday protested against the global food trading policy at a five-day workshop they organized to educate farmers on the World Trade Organization's policies and the impact it had on farmers.

Mr Samuel Kangah, General Secretary of GAWU, said there was the need to train farmers on WTO and its implications on their livelihood. "A critical look at the economic circumstances of these people, who virtually fell on small-scale farming as a source of livelihood will tell you that they just can't afford to make ends meet.

"This situation has been exacerbated by the WTO's regime of equal trade with unequal partners, who largely subsidize greatly the area that we can be said to have comparative advantage - agriculture," Mr Kangah said.

He said researchers were commissioned to study effect of trade liberalization on the local production of rice, poultry and oil-palm industries and the outcome would be shared with the farmers. The workshop that had participants drawn from the Greater Accra Farmers Association and representatives of other farming groups in the country has the aim of interpreting international trade implications to farmers to better understand the rules and principles of World Trade. It is also aimed at fostering greater interest and engagements on global food issues so that participants would be motivated to continue the learning process.

Mr Kangah launched a manual produced by GAWU to educate farmers on WTO policies.

Ms Comfort Zormelo, a Farmer and a member of GAWU, who represented the farmers, confirmed that most farmers did not know anything about WTO.

She said: "In my local community, where I could sell to families, there is now what is called free food especially for school children. Families no more buy like they used to and many farmers are giving up farming."

Ms Lydia Sasu, Chief Executive of Farmer Organizations Network of Ghana questioned why there was so much importation of food into the country.

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