Agriculture Sovereignty Ghana takes on NAFSN

The G8 New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition (NAFSN), has been criticised by the Agriculture Sovereignty Ghana (ASG), a social movement of small-holder farmers, trade unions, and student associations.

The association said a study on the initiative has revealed that the stated objective of the programme was one of the subtle ways of continuing the pillaging and depletion of African resources in order to benefit mainly foreign multinational agribusinesses.

It said the programme was adversely affecting the produce of small holder farmers while crippling agribusinesses in the country.

The G8 NAFSN was introduced in Ghana by the international community in 2012 to promote policies that enhance seed production, taxes and agriculture land in the country.

A statement issued and signed by the chairperson of ASG, John Yaw Opoku said policies and programmes formulated by government on taxes for agribusinesses as a result of the initiative do not augur well for best farming activities in the country.

It said the initiative was gradually destroying the seed system in the country considering the number of foreign agribusinesses which have captured the African market for their improved seed varieties, including Genetically Modified Seeds.

It said the push of the G8 NA’s agriculture in Africa is to allow for transformational agribusiness and big businesses to take over agriculture produce on the continent.

“To do this, African countries are changing their seed laws to create a favourable policy environment for foreign seed companies. For instance, the Plant Breeder Bill currently before the Parliament will allow major seed companies like Syngneta, Dupont and Monsanto to enter the Ghanaian Market with improved GM seeds and repatriate their profits without any hindrance and displace traditional farmers to exchange and sell seed,”it said.

The statement said farmers will consequently run the risk of criminal prosecution if certified seeds of the agribusinesses are found on their farms.

On issues of land acquisition, the statement said the initiative will deprive farmers of the right to acquire adequate land for their produce.

It said the small-holder farming system assures farmers of the right to work on land without land grabbing and the threat of eviction whereas commercial agriculture promoted by the G8 cannot ensure this but will lead to the eviction of many farmers.

“One of the policy commitments of the beneficiary countries to the G8 Na programme is the demand of land for commercial agriculture that removes small holders from the land and turn them into contract laborers,” it said.

It cited the collapse of Benso Oil Palm Plantation and Twifo Oil Palm Plantation as examples of the effects of poor policies and programmes that has slowed down agribusiness in the country.

The statement said it was necessary that we interrogate the nature of a land ownership in Ghana in order that Ghanaians appreciate the social and economic implications of grabbing land to serve the commercial interest of the New Alliance beneficiaries.

By Times Reporter

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