Wednesday 31 January 1996

Ghana would have become a banana republic but for the European Union (EU) and its Banana Protocol. The country, for long dependent on cocoa, gold and foreign aid, decided on banana trade in 1988. Fertile soil, ample rain and no history of disease made it the ideal site for production of juicy Cavendish Grand Nain banana, highly relished by the Europeans. Ghana is being assisted by a Dutch company, Volta River Estate, which set up a 170 ha plantation, aided by the Netherland's development bank, FMO. The plantation produces at least 10,000 tonnes (t) of banana every year. But Ghana has no access to the European markets. The EU, which takes 40 per cent of the world's 10 million t yearly trade, gives no quota to Ghana under its Banana Protocol. Ghana was also denied special licences for EU markets. The Dutch government has voiced its concerns to Eu and demanded a fair share for Ghana.

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