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31.03.2006 General News

German celebrity joins Oxfam on ....

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...campaign against unfair trade practices Tamale, March 31, GNA - Ms Heike Makatsch, a German celebrity and film maker, has joined Oxfam GB, Ghana, in the fight against unfair trade practices that are affecting the economies of developing countries particularly Africa.

In a press briefing in Tamale on Thursday to throw more light on her visit to Ghana and how she could help change the situation, Ms Makatsch called on the Ghana government to reduce tariffs on rural communities to enable them to survive.

She said "I have visited some cocoa farmers in the south, the Nyariga community and the Single Mothers' Association in the Upper East Region and I saw real poverty in the people's faces, which saddens my heart and I will do my best to seek funding to help them".

Ms Makatsch said though cocoa was the country's major export earner, farmers in the cocoa farming communities that she visited were still poor and called for a radical approach by government to improve the situation.

"I have taken footage of the poverty situation I saw in Ghana and that would help to speak to major donors and charity NGOs in Germany to help make long lasting changes in unfair trade practices to transform the situations in Africa" she said.

Mr Sam Salifu Danse, Country Programme Manager of Oxfam GB, Ghana, observed that politicians were "insensitive" to the plight of the poor in the country and advised them to forget about partisan politics and tackle "politics of poverty" to redeem the suffering of Ghanaians. He said experience had shown that food production in the country had ran down in the past years due to unfair trade practices and called on the government to have the will power to remove subsidies on agricultural inputs.

Mr. Mohammed Adam Nashiru, President of the Peasant Farmers Association of Ghana, expressed disappointment about the collapse of the tomato and the meat factories at Bolgatanga and governments' unwillingness to revamp them.

He said the cotton industry in the country was also collapsing and called on the government to reconsider the plight of the rural poor and support the agriculture sector to stand firm.