Business News of 2014-03-19

Bolga to join international trade movement

The Bolgatanga municipality in the Upper East Region is to join an international trade movement known as the Fair Trade Town Organisation (FTTO).

Local artisans, food vendors and the business community are being encouraged to form cooperatives as a way of helping the municipality to acquire that fair trade town status.

The membership status involves networking with a variety of global partners and demonstrating the municipality's adherence to fair trade values. Bolgatanga has the opportunity to gain numerous benefits, including establishing its strong and vibrant art and craft sector and increasing the region's tourist trade.

Fair trade town status

The FTTO is an international association and a part of the wider social movement of fair trade. It ultimately has the aim of creating a positive economic change by implementing favourable working conditions and fair prices among its members.

It operates on the basis of awarding fair trade town status to communities which observe and implement its fair trade values. Currently, there are 1,424 fair trade towns worldwide but only three of these are located in developing countries.

In order to gain fair trade status, communities are required to achieve five goals.

The goals are to establish a partnership agreement with a United Kingdom fair trade town, form a cooperative that sells products on the fair trade market, hold campaigns in schools located within the prospective town, as well as an annual event to promote local business and fair trade locally, regionally and nationally.

Trade Aid Integrated, a non-governmental organisation in the region, is facilitating the process, which includes the formation of a steering committee comprising local representatives to ratify the five goals designed by Trade Aid for Bolgatanga.

Fair trade steering committee meeting

At a recent fair trade steering committee meeting in Bolgatanga, the Executive Director of Trade Aid, Mr Nicholas Apokerah, announced that since the establishment of his outfit in 2000, 37 art and craft groups had been brought together.

"My organisation has worked towards reducing poverty in northern Ghana, an area where poverty is still widespread. As part of Trade Aid's income project, we work to support small-scale producers of traditional handicrafts to improve their household incomes and to provide them with linkages to fair value chains," he stated.

The team leader of a six-member International Service Volunteer Group of Trade Aid, Miss Therri Tait, was of the view that Bolgatanga could establish a partnership agreement with Shaftsbury, one of the fair trade towns in the UK, to help facilitate its membership status.

Two of the participants at the meeting who are both in the weaving industry, Felicia Adekeya and Josephine Akeko, intimated that the initiative was a laudable one which needed to be encouraged to put Bolgatanga on the world trade map.