The URBANET Trade Justice Campaign in Ghana: A Case Study of Efforts to Involve Indigenous Farmers in Advocacy

Degree Name

MA in Sustainable Development

First Advisor

Jeff Unsicker


This paper presents research conducted in the Tamale metropolitan of the northern region of Ghana. It is on the efforts of the Urban Agriculture Network (URBANET), a local NGO, to educate and involve indigenous farmers in the region as part of Ghana’s larger movement for trade justice. URBANET was established in 2003 to advocate for indigenous farmers of the northern region of Ghana with regards to production and marketing of their produce. One of the primary challenges facing those farmers was falling prices due to the influx of imported products under unfair trade policies dictated by international bodies and the national government. URBANET worked with community-based organizations to research the effect of trade; it offered workshops and trainings to the farmers, as well as radio programs and other general public education; and it mobilized farmers for meetings with local policy makers. The study showed that the advocacy did create awareness among indigenous farmers and it has to a greater extent, contributed to effect some changes in policies as far as production and marketing of indigenous farmers produce are concerned: In 2005 the Ghana government made definite statements to the effect that all state institutions should buy their rice from Ghanaian rice farmers. There was also a statement that all government officials and workers should wear native clothes on Fridays. This was intended to guarantee that the producers of rice and cotton would have access to the local market.

The presence of many protest groups and advocacy institutions representing various groups that deal in trade make it impossible to be able to attribute any change in policy on trade related issues to the actions of just one group. That is why the URBANET is seen only as a contributor to the change and not an overall creator of the change. This study recommends that the URBANET expands its coverage since the northern region is a vast place. It should intensify the follow-up meetings with local authorities after press releases and conferences, get more women upfront in the campaign, establish a website and introduce a local Trade Justice Celebration.


Economics | Geography | International and Area Studies | Life Sciences | Public Affairs, Public Policy and Public Administration | Social and Behavioral Sciences

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