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IMANI?s President Writes to the French Ambassador in Ghana


19 July 2012

His Excellency Fr?d?ric CLAVIER
Ambassade de France au Ghana,
Embassy of France in Ghana
PO Box 187
Accra, Ghana

Dear Ambassador Clavier:

On behalf of Ghana?s IMANI Centre for Center for Policy and Education, I
commend the Government of France and the Agence Francaise de Developpement
for its support to Ghana?s growing palm oil industry.

Ghana?s Minister for Food and Agriculture, Mr. Kwesi Ahwoi recently
announced that the Agence Francaise de Developpement will help finance two
new small farmer schemes, which will support 750 Ghanaian farmers to
cultivate 3,000 hectares of oil palm trees in the Western Region. This
public-private partnership demonstrates that the French Government cares
deeply about alleviating poverty in Ghana and achieving the G8 goals of
strengthening food security. It is also a welcome sign that the French
government intends to follow the tradition of the European Union and other
European countries in supporting agricultural development in Ghana.

Palm oil provides a major source of employment and revenue for the
Ghanaian people, with 30,000 farmers engaged in the industry and private
small scale farmers accounting for 80 percent of oil palm currently being
cultivated. The Ghanaian government has recognized the important role palm
oil plays in the economy, investing more than $3 million in the industry
as of 2010, and earlier this month, launched an Oil Palm Development
Master Plan, outlining its plans to boost the nation?s competitiveness in
the global vegetable oil markets over the next 15 years.

This Development Master Plan takes note of the unmet demand for vegetable
oil both domestically and in the region and reflects not only our
commitment to oil palm development, but also the growing trend throughout
West Africa for supporting the development of domestic agriculture sectors
for the dual purpose of achieving food security and increasing prosperity.

The governments of France and Ghana are not alone in recognizing the
economic value of palm oil small farmers in Africa. Together with
Liberian and Nigeria, the International Fund for Agriculture Development
(IFAD) has also been supportive of palm oil small farmers in Uganda having
previously invested $52 million to support 136,000 Ugandan families and
local businesses. In addition, IFAD?s President, Kanayo Nwanze, has spoken
out recently in support of small farmers, stating that they ?are
considered among the most sustainable private-sector enterprises in terms
of family inputs and their relation to the land.?

However, in spite of the commendable support from governments and
international organizations for Africa?s small farmers, select retailers
and manufacturers in France are refusing to source palm oil and actively
campaigning against this important vegetable oil. Their actions directly
undermine efforts by your government, the Ghanaian government and the
international community to reduce poverty and improve food security in
Ghana, and Africa at large.

Take for example, Carrefour, which stopped using palm oil in its chips in
favor of more costly and less productive sunflower oil or Supermarch? U,
which has stated that by 2015 all of its products will be either ?palm
oil-free? or RSPO certified, a certification scheme that is unaffordable
for Ghana?s small farmers. Similarly, since 2010, Casino Group has simply
refused to use palm oil in food products on the basis of unconfirmed
health grounds even though research confirms that palm oil is as healthy
as olive oil, and fortified with nutrients like vitamins A and E.

France-Ghana bilateral relations have been strengthened through your
support of our country?s small farmer community and your leadership
deserves much praise for advancing this partnership. The Government of
France can demonstrate greater support for Ghana?s development by urging
these French companies to support Africa?s palm oil farmers and begin
using palm oil, once again. By doing so, you can take a stand in support
of wealth creation and global food security, and firmly demonstrate
France?s commitment to global welfare and prosperity.
Franklin Cudjoe
IMANI Center for Policy and Education


Mr. Dov ZERAH, Chief Executive Officer, Agence Fran?aise de D?veloppement
Mr. Didier MERCIER, Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Agence Fran?aise de
Mr. Georges PLASSAT, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Carrefour S.A.
Mr. Serge PAPIN, President and Director General, Syst?me U
Mr. Jean-Charles NAOURI, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Casino Group
His Excellency Mr. Kwesi Awoi, Ghanaian Minister for Food and Agriculture
His Excellency Mr. Kanayo Nwanze, President, International Fund for
Agriculture Development (IFAD)
Mr. Bernard BOTTE, Premier Conseiller et Conseiller Presse, Ambassade de
France au Ghana, Embassy of France in Ghana
Mr. Richard KWIATEK, Chef du service ?conomique, Ambassade de France au
Ghana, Embassy of France in Ghana
Mr. Christian JOLY Ph.D , Attach? de Coop?ration, Ambassade de France au
Ghana, Cooperation Attach?, Embassy of France in Ghana

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