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24.05.2005 Regional News

Seminar on Food Security held

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Accra, May 24, GNA - Mr Mornah Dekuwmini from the Ghana Agricultural Workers Union (GAWU) on Tuesday urged policy makers to ensure that policies were aimed at promoting the productive base of areas the country had the greater advantage of maximising her production capacity, especially in agriculture.

"Policies should also be aimed at where there is adequate domestic demand to serve as a first safeguard and sustainability measure." Mr Dekuwmini was speaking on: "The Impact of Trade Liberalization and Food Security", at a day's seminar to sensitise the media on food security situation in the country and the role it could play in resolving it.

He said a country could be said to be food secured if it had access to safe and affordable food at all times and that could be measured by total land area for food crop production, food trade balance and food imports as percentage of total exports.

Mr Dekuwmini blamed Ghana's current food situation on liberalisation, which he said, made governments to think there was gain in ignoring the vibrant agricultural sector in Ghana just because of subsidised cheap and unhygienic imports from countries that did not have any comparative advantage in the production of those goods.

"It is trade liberalisation and its development paradigm that makes policy makers to think that the only way to develop is to open up and give more power to the rich companies and countries at the expense of the poor with the unrealistic expectation that they will be benevolent enough to satisfy the poor.

"It is trade liberalization that eliminates all forms of support to the Ghanaian farmer and even trivialising and subsequently invalidating the important role of Ghana Food Distribution Company in ensuring food security," he said.

Mr Dekuwmini, therefore, advocated for a meaningful development policy, which would aim at elevating the poor out of poverty.

The Reverend Dr Samuel Asuming-Brempong of the Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness Department of the University of Ghana, Legon, stressed the need to solve structural problems of agriculture to ensure food security.

This, he said, could be done through branding local products, developing a marketing system for them and investing in advertising them.

He said by so doing, more jobs would be created for the people, put more money into their pockets and ensure food security because if the people had the means they could buy food at all time.

Mr Kwasi Gyan-Apenteng, Public Relations Affairs Director at Third World Network (TWN), urged Journalists to develop keen interest in food security issues and monitor all the processes of policy appraisal on food.

Mr Kingsley Ofei-Nkansah, Deputy General Secretary of GAWU, said as a result of a change in the economic development food imports had been on the ascendancy.

He said there were about 5.6 million small farmers in Ghana, whose interest ought to be protected and interventions made on their behalf to ensure that public policies were made to favour them.

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