Develop industry for Agriculture to grow - Ofei-Nkansah

Mr. Kingsley Ofei-Nkansah, General Secretary of the General Agricultural Workers Union (GAWU) of the Trades Union Congress, has appealed to the government to support industries to manufacture equipment for agriculture in order to make farming less tedious. He said agriculture could not grow in isolation since machinery and equipment from the industrial sector and technology were needed to make the agricultural sector more attractive to generate employment for the youth. Mr. Ofei-Nkansah, who was launching the 50th anniversary celebration of GAWU in the Upper West Region at Wa on Tuesday, said insistence on export-led growth without industrialization was a deception as the country needed industry to add value to what it produced for export. The celebration has as its focus achievements, challenges and prospects of the union in its 50 years’ history. He said rice production was very dear to the union and it therefore wanted to see practical actions on the government’s commitment to boost rice production because that was one of the areas that could provide employment for the youth Mr. Ofei-Nkansah however stated that efforts to boost rice cultivation must ensure that the research scientists promoted the cultivation of local varieties of the crop, adding that research should not lead to the direction that would make the country dependent on multi-national corporations. He expressed regret that the union, which had a membership of about 180,000 workers in the 1980s, now had 47,000 members and attributed this to changes in government policies, divestiture of state enterprises and retrenchment of workers over the years. “Since the 1980s employment creation has not been a priority and major concern of governments”, he said. He assured the workers that the union would always stand solidly behind them and would fight to ensure that government ratified all International Labour Organization’s conventions. “GAWU can fight back when all seems to be lost. If any government does anything untoward against any of our members, we shall speak out as a union. As you can see the Union is older than the NDC or the NPP,” he said.