Ministry of Trade and Industry to organise stakeholders’ conference

The Ministry of Trade and Industry would organise a two–day stakeholders’ conference from Wednesday September 1-2 at Tamale.

The conference is to fashion out a comprehensive strategic framework to guide the revival of the cotton industry in Ghana which is crucial and vital for the development of the textile and garment industry.

A statement issued in Accra on Monday and signed by Nana Akrasi-Sarpong, Acting Director of Communication and Public Affairs, said the conference would in addition, provide a platform to bring to the fore all the problems that had bedevilled the cotton industry over the years and discussed to find of ways of addressing them.

It said participants were expected to come out with practical solutions that would help sustain the growth of the industry and to develop an action plan to guide the revival of the cotton industry by outlining a new policy direction.

The cotton industry was very vibrant some years ago, but improper planning, cheap and inferior seeds, poaching and other factors led to the near collapse of the industry, it said.

This has a rippling effect on the textile and garment industry with the collapse of the vertical integrated mills and loss of jobs.

The statement said the Ministry of Trade and Industry through the Export Development and Investment Fund (EDIF) had provided a three-million Ghana cedis facility to cotton farmers in the three regions to revive the once vibrant industry.

The facility covers land preparation, seeds, fertilizers, chemicals and other logistics required to ensure that the products are of great quality and therefore competitive.

The statement said the Sector Ministry was focused on developing a vibrant, technology-driven, competitive trade and industrial sector which would contribute significantly to economic growth and employment generation.

It said to achieve this, two core strategies were being pursued by the Ministry.

These are export–led industrialisation and domestic market-led industrialisation based on import competition.

The statement said it was in line with this that the Ministry came out with new and comprehensive industry policy.

One of the policy descriptions in Industrial Policy is the need for the Ministries of Trade and Industry and Food and Agriculture to collaborate to support farmers through a sustained out-grower scheme to produce raw materials and the growth of the industrial sector cotton is no exception.

This collaboration is geared towards reducing post harvest losses and ensuring high and stable prices for the farmers.

The emphasis on the development of out-grower farms would also save companies the huge sums of foreign exchange required to import such raw materials from other countries.

This would also help to meet the minimum production requirements of the companies and thereby sustain job creation.

The statement said revival of the cotton industry would bring a lot of economic activities in the three northern regions, from the farmers to the cotton companies, and go a long way to enhance the socio-economic well being of the people thereby achieving government’s “Better Ghana Agenda.

It said participants would be drawn from Parliament, Ministries of Trade and Industry, Food and Agriculture, farmers, cotton companies, the banks, development partners, experts in the cotton industry, Northern, Upper East and West Regional Coordinating Councils, labour and non governmental organisations.

Source: GNA

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