Fair Trade Ghana Network (FTGN) with support from Fairtrade Africa (FTA), is developing a detailed advocacy strategy to help tackle the problems faced by producers.
Madam Florence Blankson, Vice-President of FTGN, said the advocacy strategy would help the Network address some of its challenges regarding policy formulation and awareness creation on critical government directives.
Madam Blankson, speaking at a press briefing in Accra, said Fair Trade would continue to make significant differences in the lives of producers and communities all over the world.
The event was on the theme: “Championing Sustainable Agricultural and Handicraft Production in the Fairtrade Environment.”
The Network was established with support from Fairtrade Africa to collaborate better with Fairtrade certified producer organisations in Ghana and to encourage others to join the Fair Trade movement to get a certification.
It seeks to support the growth of product-specific networks, influencing national trade policies, forming strategic partnerships and providing capacity building to strengthen the work of the network and the producer organisations.
She said FTGN had plans towards identifying other sources of income for the group beyond relying on donations.
“We believe that with a sustainable source of income to support the Network, we can support our members in sourcing for a good fair trade market and improve upon their capacity and governance, to increase their incomes and wages. This in the long run will lead to poverty reduction,” the Vice-President added.
Madam Blankson urged members to increase cooperation among their fellows on the continent if they had to seriously tackle poverty, explaining that if a Fair Trade entity in Ghana wanted organic cotton, they could turn to Fair Trade producers in Mali and not outside the continent.
“We further wish to assist our members to identify and engage in additional livelihood activities. Indeed, some of our members are already engaged in such valuable practices,” she said.
She encouraged member producers to gradually adopt a zero-waste system by turning cocoa pods into briquettes and encouraging compost production as part of agro-ecological practices.
The Vice-President called for a conscious effort for local patronage of what they produced like Cocoa, Banana, Pineapple, Citrus, Shea, Mango, Coconut and Handicrafts for a more sustainable economy and to raise farmers from the poverty line.
She also encouraged members to start focusing on modern agro-ecological practices, which was the goal of the Equity 2 project they started.
Madam Blankson lamented about the lack of markets and challenges with some buyer and certification bodies.
She said the COVID-19 pandemic harmed member producers and expressed worry that the Network did not have enough funding to support members.
“Climate change also had a significant negative impact on the lives of our members and continues to do so…,” Madam Blankson said.