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26.10.2005 Regional News

GAWU organises farmers along the Volta Lake

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Bumbulla (VR), Oct 26, GNA- The General Agricultural Workers Union (GAWU) of the Ghana Trades Union Congress (TUC) on Tuesday reaffirmed its commitment to fight for the interest of farmers in the informal sector who produce most of the nation's food.

Mr Samuel Kangah, GAWU General Secretary, said this at the inauguration of executives of 17 informal sector farmers and fishermen's unions in the Nkonya-Bumbulla area in the Jasikan District. The unions would operate under the informal sector of GAWU, which would lead them in advocacy and also provide skills training for increased yield.

Mr Kangah expressed regret that "farmers continue to work hard to feed the nation but remain the least paid and highly disadvantaged in terms of national resource distribution".

He said GAWU would develop linkages among the groups to enable them "source for finance and credit, which are in a manner consistent with the challenges of the market".

The Italian Pensioners Association (FNP) and the Italian Trades Union Confederation are supporting the integrated GAWU project with funding for the provision of social amenities in the communities. The amenities would be under the education, health and environment sectors, and skills training in fishing, farming and community mobilization.

Mr Kangah appealed to the government to ratify without further delay the International Labour Organization (ILO) convention 184 on Occupational Health and Safety in Agriculture.

"The ratification is long over due since cabinet has long passed it for ratification based on advice of the Labour Advisory Committee.'' Mr Yohannes Kodzo Wegbe, Chairman of the Bumbulla Union, asked for silos to avoid farmers selling their produce at give away prices during gluts as well as irrigation machines and fishing gears. Farmers in the 17 communities along the Volta Lake cultivate grains, root crops and vegetables and also engage in bee keeping, animal husbandry including rearing grass cutter.

Mr Francis Zotto, 1998 Best Farmer in the Jasikan District told the 26 Oct 05