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Thursday, 7 November, 2002, 14:14 GMT
Drug dealing hits Ghana's yam exports
yams
Ghana produces five million tonnes of yams a year
Ghana's lucrative yam export business is under attack from the illegal smuggling of cocaine, according to local press reports.

The concerns were voiced by the president of the Ghana Root Crops and Tuber Exporters Union at a press conference in Accra on Wednesday.

The union claims that drug traffickers are using the cargoes of yams destined for the United Kingdom and the United States to conceal narcotics.

The cargoes of yams are then stripped of the valuable drugs, while the vegetables are often given away or sold for next to nothing.

Kofi Asiedu, president of the tuber exporters union, says this is flooding the marketplace and destroying prices.

Call to action

"Ghana loses more than half the potential foreign exchange earnings from the yam export trade," Mr Asiedu is reported to have said.

Ghana produces more than five million tonnes of yam a year, and should reap at least $20m from exports.

But the real figure is thought to be significantly less than this.

The union is now calling for a national policy to tackle the problem and save the jobs of farmers and traders across the country.

Mr Asiedu said the union was determined to check the activities of people using yam exports to do illegal business.

And he appealed to the Ministry of Trade and Industry to help in the fight against drugs.

See also:

05 Jul 02 | Country profiles
24 Sep 02 | Business
17 Sep 02 | Business
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