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High level public, private sector dialogue in the offing

The government is to facilitate periodic high-level dialogue between policy makers and the private sector to ensure that policy formulation promotes inclusiveness.

A Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Mr Carlos Ahenkorah, disclosed this when he opened the West Africa Regional Fairtrade Convention 2017 in Accra.

The convention was on the theme, “Partnership for Impact: Unlocking the business potential of West African Producer Organisations.”

Partnerships

Mr Ahenkorah said the government believed that the inclusion of private sector views into policy and programme formulation was a critical component of policy planning.

He noted that the government was at the final stages of approving a national quality policy that would, among other things, support capacity-building activities for producers, especially exporters, to meet international standards.

The deputy trade minister indicated that the government had set the tone for a fair trade regime in global trade and acknowledged the immense support Fairtrade was providing for producers by ensuring that they enjoyed secure and sustainable livelihoods.

Agribusiness

“This is helping to change the narrative around agriculture in Africa, as agriculture is now seen as a business,” he stated.

Mr Ahenkorah said figures from the African Development Bank indicated that about two-thirds of the population of Africa was engaged in agriculture, accounting for nearly a quarter of the continent’s gross domestic product (GDP).

Fairtrade Africa

For her part, the Executive Director of Fairtrade Africa, Dr Nyagoy Nyango, said the network was established in 2005 as an independent non-profit umbrella organisation representing all Fairtrade certified producers in Africa.

She said the organisation was owned by its members, who were African producer organisations certified against international Fairtrade standards, producing traditional export commodities such as coffee, cocoa, tea, cotton, bananas, mango and non-traditional commodities such as shea butter and rooibos tea.

Country partnerships

Dr Nyango said currently, the organisation represented over a million smallholder farmers and worked across 33 countries in Africa, through primary structures such as product groups, country partnerships and regional networks.

The model, she explained, enabled members to have a stronger voice in the governance and management of the organisation.

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