Africa: Crops and Trade, 1/2, 10/02/02

Africa: Crops and Trade, 1/2, 10/02/02

Africa: Crops and Trade, 1 Date distributed (ymd): 021002 Document reposted by Africa Action

Africa Policy Electronic Distribution List: an information service provided by AFRICA ACTION (incorporating the Africa Policy Information Center, The Africa Fund, and the American Committee on Africa). Find more information for action for Africa at

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Region: Continent-Wide Issue Areas: +economy/development+ +US policy focus+


Today's series of two postings contains several recent documents (from the Mozambique News Agency, the UN's Integrated Regional Information Network, Oxfam International, and Food First) highlighting the negative impact on Africa of international policies on key African export crops, including cashews, cotton, and coffee. While Oxfam International and Food First (in reports earlier this year available on their web sites) have taken different positions of the potential for increased export trade to benefit developing countries, these documents show convergence in exposing the damage done by rich country protectionism combined with imposing free trade on the poor.

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World Bank Urged to Pay for Rescue of Cashew Industry

Mozambique News Agency (AIM, Maputo)
October 1, 2002, Maputo

The chairman of Mozambique's Cashew Industry Association (AICAJU), Kekobad Patel, told AIM on Tuesday that the World Bank ought to support the Mozambican government in attempts to rescue the cashew processing industry.

He pointed out that it was the liberalisation of the trade in raw cashews, imposed by the World Bank in 1995, that had led to the collapse of the processing industry.

With the export of raw nuts to India encouraged, and the local industry stripped of protection, the factories found themselves unable to acquire raw material, and one by one they ground to a halt. Now it was time for the World Bank to pay for its disastrous mistakes, and provide the funds to rescue the deeply indebted processing companies. Speaking at a Maputo conference on "Public-Private Partnerships", Patel pointed out that cashew had once been a corner stone of the Mozambican economy. Four years before Mozambican independence, in 1971, cashew exports (both processed kernels and unprocessed nuts) amounted to 151 million US dollars.

Last year, virtually no kernels were exported, and the value of exported raw nuts was just 11.5 million dollars.

Patel pointed out that the liberalisation imposed by the World Bank had been strongly opposed both by the factory owners, and by the Cashew Workers Union (SINTIC). Now, seven years later, their fears have proved all too well-founded, and the processing industry is in ruins.

He recalled that the World Bank consultants had argued that liberalisation would promote competition, which would lead to greater production. They predicted that within five years the cashew orchard would expand to produce 80-90,000 tonnes of nuts a year.

Peasant producers would supposedly receive higher prices for their nuts, and though some jobs might be lost in the factories, those workers could earn good money by growing their own cashews.

None of this has happened. Patel pointed out that production has stagnated. Over the last five years, average annual production has been 50,000 tonnes of raw nuts, "almost the same as when the liberalisation policy was introduced".

Whatever gains producers may have made in the late 1990s were annulled as from 2000, when the producer price for raw cashews fell significantly. Patel said that, over the past two years, the export price for raw nuts has slumped by 40 per cent.

He attributed this to the fact that there is only one buyer - India. It is the Indian industry that sets the export price, and with the annihilation of the local processing industry competition to purchase the nuts has disappeared.

Patel said that currently 12 large processing factories are closed "with investments of about 50 million dollars transformed into scrap metal".

10,000 jobs in the processing industry had been lost, with severe knock-on effects in local economies. Towns such as Manjacaze in Gaza province, or Angoche in Nampula, had been heavily dependent on the cashew factories. When the factories closed, there was "a considerable increase in poverty" in these areas.

Cashew industry wages had been about nine billion meticais (380,000 dollars at current exchange rates) a month. That monthly injection of cash into local economies no longer exists.

The Mozambican balance of payments suffered, because processed cashew kernels fetch more money than do raw nuts.

Mozambique lost heavily every time it exported a tonne of raw cashews rather than transforming the nuts into processed kernels first. Patel put total losses to the balance of payments over the past five years at 15 million dollars.

"Once recognised as one of the major suppliers of cashew kernels, Mozambique has now disappeared from the market", Patel accused.

The failure of the policy followed since 1995 was "more than evident", and Patel called on the government "to make a deep reflection on the future of the cashew sector".

That had to involve drawing up a "harmonised and sustainable policy that defends the national interest and promotes the country's development".

Patel did not believe the current Cashew Master Plan was viable. It deals almost exclusively with improving the yields from the cashew orchard: but the stress is not on planting more trees, but on the expensive use of chemicals to treat the existing trees against fungal diseases.

Patel believed the costs of chemical treatment were beyond the reach of most peasant farmers, and it was fundamental to research into higher yielding and disease resistant varieties of trees.

As for the processing industry, Patel believed it could be rescued if the government and World Bank were to clean up the debts of viable factories (while liquidating those deemed not to be viable).

He also called for medium and long term credit lines, at preferential interest rates, to help relaunch existing factories, and encourage new ones.

[for earlier reports on this issue, see and]


Oxfam International

Press Release

US cotton subsidies driving world's farmers into poverty: Brazil files case with World Trade Organization

27 September 2002

Read the full report: Cultivating Poverty. The Impact of US Cotton Subsidies on Africa

US subsidies to cotton producers are contributing to mass poverty in some of the world's poorest countries, according to a report published today by the international development agency Oxfam.

Government support to the 25,000 domestic cotton producers in the US totals $3.9 billion annually, more than three times the US foreign assistance to Africa's 500 million people.

"The US is the world's strongest proponent of free trade, but when poor cotton farmers in Mali try to trade on the world market, they must compete against massively subsidized American cotton," says Phil Twyford. "This makes a mockery of the idea of a level playing field. The rules are rigged against the poor."

American cotton subsidies are highly targeted to benefit the largest farming operations. The largest 10 per cent of American cotton agro-businesses received three-quarters of the total subsidies.

The Government of Brazil is launching a complaint with the World Trade Organization, claiming that US cotton support constitutes an unfair trade practice.

More than 10 million people in Central and West Africa depend directly on cotton. It is a major source of revenue for countries such as Mali, Burkina Faso and Benin. The amount of money America spends on cotton is more than the entire GDP of Burkina Faso, where 2 million people depend on cotton and half of who live below the poverty line.

Oxfam says that Africa is losing $300 million a year, based on estimates from the International Cotton Advisory Council, and that the withdrawal of US subsidies would raise the world price of cotton by 11 cents a pound.

World cotton prices have sunk to as low now as any time since the Great Depression. The US subsidies are pushing prices even further into collapse.

Oxfam says that the WTO must:

* Ban the dumping of products at prices below the cost of production;

* Stop export subsidies;

* Restructure price support schemes in rich countries toward less intensive agriculture and to enhance the welfare of small farmers.



The High Cost of Coffee

UN Integrated Regional Information Networks

September 24, 2002

This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations

In Ethiopia they used call coffee their gift to the world. But for the impoverished African country, known for being the birthplace of coffee, that gift has now become a poison chalice.

World coffee prices have plummeted, Ethiopia's earnings from its biggest export have slumped by more than a half, and already-poor farmers face total ruin.

Abba Milki, 80, has grown coffee all his life. "I am standing on the ground where coffee was first grown," he told IRIN proudly. "Our ancestors grew coffee, it is engrained in our history. But soon no-one will be growing coffee anymore in Choche. We cannot afford to."

With almost perfect conditions, farmers in Choche, near Jimma in Ethiopia's Oromiya region were once relatively well off thanks to coffee beans which can be found in almost every spot of this lush, fertile countryside. But over the last five years that wealth has been totally eroded.

They now wear tatty, worn out clothes and many have even taken to selling off the tins roofs which once set them apart from their poorer neighbours. Many, who grow their beans on government-owned small 0.75-hectare farms, are also ripping up the thriving bushes still laden with beans to plant maize, simply to survive.


In Ethiopia a million people depend on coffee for their entire income. Some 15 million households benefit indirectly from coffee sales.

Its importance in securing vital foreign currency cannot be overestimated. Coffee accounts for about 60 percent of exports - but in the last few years the crucial dollars secured from coffee have plummeted from US $257 million to US $149 million per year.

The economy teeters on the brink because of the crash. It poses a major hurdle to Ethiopia's poverty reduction strategy - whose central plank is agriculture-led development, such as coffee. It also promises to throw off course the debt relief formula produced by the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, which is dependent on sustainable strong growth in exports.

Coffee also plays an important role in Ethiopian culture. Ethiopia proudly uses the ancient coffee ceremony on almost all tourist promotional literature. Any visitor to the country will usually be invited to a ceremony.

According to experts, farmers in Choche produce some of the finest organic Arabica beans - the highest quality beans - in the world. Third world farmers receive a paltry one percent of the final price of a cup of coffee. Yet the big coffee sellers are making annual profits in the region of 26 percent.

The crisis is also hitting employers in the region. In a country as poor as Ethiopia, the average income is around a dollar a day. Once-wealthy large producing farmers are also now find themselves totally indebted to banks.

"The bank came the day before you arrived," said Zeleke Mekuria, with tears streaming down his face. "They want my house. They said they would take it if I cannot repay the debt, which I can't. Where will my children live?"

Zeleke, 54, used to employ 150 people on his coffee farm, but now just 14 workers pick berries on his 14-hectare farm. He has also cut the salaries from six birr (US $0.70) a day to 3 birr. The knock-on effects for the local economy are all too obvious.


But turning to other crops for export poses problems. Massive trade barriers by the European Union and United States have meant diversification is a problem. Oxfam International warns that the collapse in prices is not only devastating poor economies. It argues that it is exacerbating a serious drought in the country and forcing farmers to turn to cash crops like chat - a mild stimulant. But it also says there is a way out.

Already some of the coffee grown in Oromiya is being exported under fair trade packaging to the US. Steve Sellers, from the US-based TransFair organisation says the US market is crying out for specialist fair trade coffee at an acceptable price. In the last year, his company has doubled the amount of fair trade coffee being imported into the country.

But it still accounts for a tiny fraction of the US market, just half a percent. However Sellers argues this means they can make deep inroads and boost the supply of high grade specialised coffee.


Oromiya Vice President Mohammed Alyi said without help from the rest of the world the economic and social impact would be enormous.

"Unless reliable solutions are sought the situation might get to the stage where it is irreversible," he warned. Oxfam International's campaign has devised a rescue plan for third world coffee growers - based on reducing supply and the big four roasting companies agreeing to forgo some of their profits.

But in Choche, the farmers struggle to retain any hope for the future.

Abba's gnarled hands clutch his walking stick. "All I know is coffee," he says. "What I don't understand is that people in your country drink it but I receive nothing. Why should we grow coffee when all it does is ruin us?"


Africa: Crops and Trade, 2 Date distributed (ymd): 021002 Document reposted by Africa Action

Africa Policy Electronic Distribution List: an information service provided by AFRICA ACTION (incorporating the Africa Policy Information Center, The Africa Fund, and the American Committee on Africa). Find more information for action for Africa at

+++++++++++++++++++++Document Profile+++++++++++++++++++++

Region: Continent-Wide Issue Areas: +economy/development+ +US policy focus+


Today's series of two postings contains several recent documents (from the Mozambique News Agency, the UN's Integrated Regional Information Network, Oxfam International, and Food First) highlighting the negative impact on Africa of international policies on key African export crops, including cashews, cotton, and coffee. While Oxfam International and Food First (in reports earlier this year available on their web sites) have taken different positions of the potential for increased export trade to benefit developing countries, these documents show convergence in exposing the damage done by rich country protectionism combined with imposing free trade on the poor.

+++++++++++++++++end profile++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Oxfam International

Press Release 18 September 2002

Coffee companies under fire as millions face ruin

The full report: MUGGED: Poverty in your coffee cup, is available at:

Please contact Matthew Grainger, Oxfam International Media Officer, for any press inquiry: +44-(0)1865- 313705;

Millions of people in 45 coffee-growing countries are facing economic ruin - and many are going hungry - due to collapsing world prices. Oxfam today launches a global campaign to tackle the coffee crisis and force the corporate giants who dominate the $60-billion industry to pay farmers a decent price.

The "Big Four" roasters - Sara Lee, Kraft, Procter & Gamble and Nestle - buy nearly half the world's coffee crop and make huge profits. They know there is terrible human suffering at the very heart of their business and yet they do virtually nothing to help. It's time to shame and change them, says Oxfam International Executive Director Jeremy Hobbs.

With coffee prices at a 30-year low, new Oxfam research warns of economic breakdown and worsening misery for 25 million producers. The International Coffee Organisation - which meets in London next week (Sept 24-27)- could begin to solve the crisis but only if it gets enough high-level support.

The agency says that rich country governments have neglected to help. "It's inconceivable that our political leaders are unaware of a humanitarian crisis that is affecting so many people. It's a scandal that there is no real debate, no help and no answers," Mr Hobbs says

The campaign comes at a time when people are getting angrier that the rich are getting most of the benefits of globalisation at the expense of the poor. "How governments and companies react to this crisis is the acid test of whether globalisation can be made to work for poor people," Mr Hobbs says.

Oxfam's "Coffee Rescue Plan" includes destroying surplus stocks, trading only in quality coffee and paying farmers a decent price. Governments, companies and producers should manage the market to ensure supply doesn't overshoot demand and support producers to process their crops so they can get more money. Aid should also be spent helping farmers find alternative livelihoods.

"We were told to be patient and that the free market would eventually work. We're still waiting as the rich get richer and better at making excuses. Enough is enough. 25 million coffee farmers need rescue now," Mr Hobbs says.

The new Oxfam report says:

* The global market is oversupplied by 540m kilograms of coffee each year; 8% more coffee is being produced than consumed.

* Roasting companies are using more poorer quality coffee beans than ever before thanks to new technologies such as steam cleaning.

* Ten years ago, poor countries' export sales were worth a third of the total coffee market. Today, it is just 10%.

* Coffee farmers are getting, on average, 24 cents a pound while consumers in rich countries are paying roughly $3.60 a pound - a mark-up of 1500%. Coffee now costs more to grow and pick than it does to sell.

* Millions of families in four continents who are dependent on coffee are going hungry. They can't afford school fees for their children or pay for medicines. The first to suffer are women and children. Some farmers are turning to growing coca instead.

* Disaffection and public disorder are growing. Joblessness and economic migration is worsening.

* The benefit of aid and debt relief is being severely undermined as entire country economies are decimated (in some Central American countries coffee income has fallen by 40%; Ethiopia's coffee income dropped by $110m compared to the $58m it is set to save in debt relief this year). The value of coffee exports to producer countries has fallen by $4 billion in five years.

The "Big Four Roasters" are extremely profitable, with margins estimated at between 17% to 26% on billion-dollar coffee sales. However, Oxfam says their business strategy is increasingly risky. Coffee quality is falling because farmers don't have the money to take care of their crops. The companies have made savings but have done next to nothing to help the poor farmers who find themselves at the wrong end of the corporate supply chain.

"Our campaign aims to give the companies a sharp reminder that people who drink their coffee care about the well-being of those who actually grow the crop," said Mr Hobbs.

Oxfam also criticises the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund for a "stunning policy failure" in encouraging countries into export-led growth without warning them about the potential of catastrophic price falls. Poor countries are stuck with selling cheap raw materials which others turn into highly profitable processed goods.


Anuradha Mittal, Co-Director, Food First

Backgrounder, Summer 2002, Volume 8, no. 3

[excerpts only]

Food First/Institute for Food and Development Policy 398 60th Street, Oakland, CA 94618 USA Tel: 510-654-4400 Fax: 510-654-4551 Email: Web:

Giving Away the Farm

After about 14 months of hearings, conferences, and deliberations, President Bush signed the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002 on May 13. The $248.6 billion bill increases taxpayer spending on agriculture by more than 80 percent over the 1996 farm bill, the Freedom to Farm Act, which made a tentative attempt to wean farmers from the system of price supports and commodity payments, as the U.S. was bound to do under its World Trade Organization (WTO) obligations. While the theme six years ago was freedom, the new farm bill will force American taxpayers to cough up at least $190 billion over the next 10 years, about $83 billion more than under current programs. The bill proposes a complex program. And the bill focuses mainly on eight "program" crops (cotton, wheat, corn, soybeans, rice, barley, oats, and sorghum), and thus will largely benefit bread-basket states - which also happen to be swing states in the midterm elections. Representative Larry Combest, the House Agriculture Committee Chairman, hailed American farmers as the bill's winners.

The new farm bill does have some potentially good provisions, including the Farmers' Market Nutrition Program, help for beginning farmers and ranchers, mandatory country-of-origin labeling for all meats and produce, the creation of an Under-Secretary for Civil Rights at the USDA, and a doubling of the annual funding for the Community Food Projects (from $2.5 million to $5 million). The bill covers food stamps, and it reinstates some benefits for adult legal immigrants who have lived in the U.S. for at least five years, with no residency requirement for their children and the disabled. ...

But the bill's potential for good pales in comparison to the damage it will do. Overall, the new bill fails the nation's family farmers, consumers, taxpayers, and environment. It robs the poor to pay the rich. It further destabilizes family farmers and rural communities around the world. And it fails to strengthen food security. This backgrounder explores these faults. ...

Down on the Farm

While the farm bill is a big bonanza for large producers of favored crops such as corn, soybeans, and cotton, small family farms are shortchanged. It is no exaggeration to say the new farm bill gives away the farm. ...

The new bill only compounds the existing inequities. The top 10 percent of farm-subsidy recipients collect two-thirds of the money, and the bottom 80 percent get just one-sixth.(6) Forty-seven percent of commodity payments will go to large farms with average household incomes of $135,000. Moreover, most crops are not eligible for subsidy payments. For example, in California, only 9 percent of California's 74,000 farms actually received subsidy payments since 1996; $1.8 billion have gone to fewer than 3,500 farms. ...

Of the top 20 recipients in California, 7 are big cotton growers and 11 are big rice growers who take in an average of $596,000 in crop subsidies a year.(7) It costs $700 to $800 to produce an acre of California rice that fetches just $650 in the world market! ...

New World Markets for American Corporations

... With American markets already saturated, the U.S. is aggressively pushing to open up foreign markets-with great success. Already, one out of three acres planted in the United States produces food or fiber destined for export, and one quarter of American farm sales are now exports.(11) Under the 2002 Farm Bill Market Access Program, a total of $100 million has already been distributed to 67 U.S. trade groups for the purpose of promoting U.S. agricultural products in overseas markets. ... The entire farm bill is based on the myth that trade will save the American farmer. Yet evidence from the last two decades shows that exports have not delivered on that promise.(13) Low farm commodity prices have only increased the profits of processors, exporters, and seed and chemical companies while destroying the livelihoods of family farmers.

Robin Hood in Reverse

Not only does the 2002 farm bill act as a welfare program for agribusiness, with U.S. taxpayers footing the bill, it also robs the world's poor. Wielding the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and international trade agreements, the U.S. is opening up foreign markets for exports by forcing poor countries to remove subsidies and lower tariffs. However, the U.S. shields itself from foreign competition by increasing its subsidies and maintaining tariffs. These measures have allowed the U.S. to dump its farm surplus on world markets. For example, the U.S. exports corn at prices 20 percent below the cost of production, and wheat at 46 percent below cost.(14) This has resulted in Mexican corn farmers being put out of business. ...

A dramatic increase in U.S. agricultural subsidies will further jeopardize the livelihoods of Third World farmers. The new bill will stimulate an even greater domestic farm surplus, which the U.S. will then dump at prices even farther below the cost on world markets, depressing the global commodity prices of crops that developing countries count on while wiping out even more poor farmers. The result is a reverse Robin Hood effect-robbing the world's poor to enrich American agribusiness.

An example of this effect is trade in cotton, a principle commodity crop. New subsidies mean that many U.S. cotton growers-whose average net worth is $800,000-will receive half of their income from the government this year, though only a relatively small share of the farm population, just 25,000 of America's 2 million farmers, actually raise cotton.(15)

While subsidies will protect cotton growers in America from falling world prices, they will further depress prices by encouraging continued production, and thus cripple growers in Third World countries with no subsidies. U.S. farmers last year harvested a record crop of 9.74 billion pounds of cotton, aggravating a U.S. glut and pushing prices far below the breakeven price of most growers around the world. This costs African countries $250 million each year, according to a World Bank study published last February. The report estimates that the removal of U.S. subsidies would produce a drop in U.S. production that would lead to a shortterm rise in the world price of cotton and in turn would increase revenue to west and central African countries by about $250 million.(16)

These skewed economics are evident in the gap between cotton growers in the U.S.'s Mississippi Delta and in Africa's Niger Delta. America is the world's largest exporter of cotton-even though it is an inefficient and high-cost producer-and West Africa is the third largest, with both subject to market forces that have slashed prices by 66 percent since 1995, to 35 to 40 cents a pound. Armed with roughly $3.4 billion in subsidy checks that make up for any shortfall in the market, U.S. farmers reap about 70 to 75 cents a pound for cotton. The new farm bill will increase the amount of money a U.S. cotton farmer can count on making this year by at least 16 percent. At the same time, in Mali, where cotton makes up nearly half the nation's export revenue, the government is telling cotton farmers they will be getting about 10 percent less this year.

Even the World Bank President, James Wolfensohn, acknowledges that "these subsidies are crippling Africa's chance to export its way out of poverty."(17) Mark Malloch Brown, the head of the United Nations Development Program, estimates that U.S. farm subsidies cost poor countries about $50 billion a year in lost agricultural exports. By coincidence, that's about the same as the total of rich countries' aid to poor countries.

Free Trade Takes a Pounding

For decades, the United States has been the champion of free trade, pushing others to open their markets for manufactured goods and to stop subsidizing their farmers. Back in the 1990s, the U.S. pushed hard for reduced agricultural subsidies in the Uruguay Round of the World Trade Agreement. ... At the WTO ministerial in the Qatari capital of Doha in November 2001, the U.S. renewed its antisubsidy commitment. Only six months later, the U.S. has lavished an 80 percent aid increase on its own farm sector, making even the Europeans blush. ...

These double standards in the administration that professes allegiance to market economics and fiscal probity have unleashed a wave of indignation among countries whose development prospects largely depend on farm exports. These countries are appealing to the WTO for sanctions, threatening retaliation, and charging the U.S. with hypocrisy in taking a protectionist turn even as it urges other nations to open up further. The U.S. Trade Representative, Robert Zoellick, has acknowledged that "we deserve thecriticism we have received."(19)

With the passage of the U.S. bill, the European Union, which spends more of its budget on its farm programs than on any other single program, is no longer the stand-out sinner. The Japanese, too, have reason to feel relieved. (Forty percent of European farm income comes from subsidies, as does 63 percent of Japanese farm income.)(20) However, the bill has infuriated America's trading partners [such as Canada] ...

The Europeans are not alone in their criticism. Developing countries are up in arms as well. President Museveni of Uganda, speaking at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington, charged that government subsidies of farmers in rich countries contradict the Bush administration's own policy of "trade, not aid" by shutting out the products of poorer nations. South Africa, which has routinely obeyed the liberalizing edicts of the World Bank and the IMF and has removed state support for agriculture, is likely to join the European Union and other countries in objecting to the U.S. action. ...

But Free Trade Is Not the Answer

One of the great myths perpetuated by the U.S. and E.U. governments for the past few decades is that free trade helps farmers and the poor. It does not! Attempts to leave farmers at the mercy of the free market only hasten their demise.

The focus on export crops for trade has meant increasing yields, with farmers pouring on pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers. Many have stopped rotating their crops, instead devoting every acre to corn, wheat, or some other commodity crop and creating vast monocultures that require still more chemicals to be sustained. This has destroyed our biodiversity. Vast industrial farms require costly equipment for planting and harvesting, increasing the capital intensity of agriculture. As costs rise, prices fall in markets flush with surplus. As prices fall, farmers need subsidies, which are available to big growers and agribusiness only. Land values and cash rents increase. This encourages heavy borrowing. Rich landowners get richer and young farmers cannot afford to get started. An agricultural bubble economy is created. Inevitably it crashes as subsidies fail to keep pace with falling crop prices. Farms go bankrupt. Free trade in agriculture starves our farmers.

Who will pay the farm bill when it comes due? American taxpayers have some surprises coming. But the ultimate cost of the bill will be the tragic demise of small family farms around the world.

An Opportunity for Change

The 2002 bill provides international civil society with a new opportunity to demolish the hypocritical "development agenda" myth of free trade. The bill should galvanize civil society to take up the call of Via Campesina, an international farmers movement that has denounced the liberalization of farm products promoted by the WTO as well as the dumping policies of the large export countries on Third World countries. Instead of trade, the small farmers movement prioritizes healthy, good quality, and culturally appropriate subsistence production for the domestic market and for the subregional or regional markets. These farmers' priority is to produce for their families and communities, then to seek access to the domestic market before seeking to export.(24)

Agriculture and food are fundamental to the well-being of all people, both in terms of access to safe and nutritious food and as foundations of healthy communities, cultures, and environment. All of these have been undermined by dependence on the vagaries of the free market promoted by the World Bank, the IMF, and the WTO. Instead of ensuring the right to food for all, these institutions have created a system that prioritizes exportoriented production and has increased global hunger and poverty while alienating millions from productive assets and resources such as land, water, and seeds. ...

The farm bill may be a done deal, but we should use it to challenge the free trade regime and to renew our call for the WTO to get out of agriculture. Governments have to uphold the rights of all people to food sovereignty. ...


Message-Id: <> Date: Wed, 2 Oct 2002 09:37:13 -0500 Subject: Africa: Crops and Trade, 1/2

Editor: Ali B. Ali-Dinar

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