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Tomato farmers get pasted by rotten EU trade rules

August 24, 2004 12:00 AM

At the end of August, local MP, Tom Brake, will be traveling to Ghana with Oxfam on a fact-finding mission. Tom will be meeting with Ghanaian farmers and Oxfam staff in Ghana to find out how rigged trade rules and double standards can destroy the livelihoods of the poor - in this case, tomato farmers in Ghana.

EU countries are overproducing tomatoes and dumping the surplus on Ghana, creating unfair competition for local farmers, destroying their markets and impacting on their livelihoods. At the same time, Ghanaian tomato farmers are severely restricted from exporting their tomatoes to rich countries in the EU. Tom Brake is keen to address the subsidies issues and to change these unfair rules.

Mr Brake comments, "For every dollar given to poor countries in aid, two dollars are lost because of unfair trade. Unfair trade is costing the poor world $100 billion a year. World trade rules are a major part of the problem, fundamental changes are needed to make them part of the solution."

Tom Brake's visit to Ghana will include:

  • Meetings with tomato and rice farmers in the field who are directly affected by unfair trade rules.
  • First-hand stories from families affected by trade laws made in the European Union, and stories of the devastating effects they have had on local communities in Ghana.
  • Stories from Oxfam staff who are working with poor farmers in Ghana.
  • Photographs of people and local projects he will visit
  • Meetings with Ghanaian Parliamentarians, including the President of Ghana, to discuss EU reform

Tom Brake is the spokesperson for International Development for the Liberal Democrats and has a particular concern for the welfare of people in poor countries. Oxfam's Make Trade Fair Campaign aims to change world trade rules so that trade can make a real difference in the fight against global poverty.

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