David and Goliath

by Richard on July 30, 2006

under the acacias reports that cotton farmers in Burkina Faso and other West African countries may sue the USA over agricultural subsidies which have depressed cotton prices on the world market.
[tags]wto, cotton, Burkina Faso, trade[/tags]

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

1

J 07.30.06 at 5:51 pm

Perhaps an “Army of Davids” and Goliath. This is an ideal issue to get the net involved in, especially the “Porkbusters” movement in the US.

2

DH 08.03.06 at 4:02 pm

So I get it American farmers must go under instead of the current situation. It doesn’t make sense. Subsidies are necessary for American farmers survival. As an American, farmers are going bankrupt right and left. For you to suggest something that would exaserbate this is just plain incredible. You seem to have no compassion for the American farmers losing their family farms and business.

3

Richard 08.03.06 at 4:13 pm

On the contrary. I have a lot of compassion for them. But don’t you see the hypocrisy of imposing “free” trade on the poorest countries whilst maintaining massive agricultural subsidies in the rich nations? Is it right that, for example, poor chicken farmers in west Africa have their market undercut by subsidised imports from Europe being dumped in their markets.

What we want and need is fair trade, not free trade. But they both mean getting rid of agricultural subsidies in Europe and America.

4

DH 08.03.06 at 4:37 pm

Well, couldn’t we say that the West African people are able to pay less for chicken? Also, your statement seems hypocritcal in light of the current situation for the American farmers. It is free andfair to me. I think if the third world nations could be more subsistent and self sufficient in their subsistence then they wouldn’t need European or American chickens. I think if we helped with farming technology to the third world rather than subsidies we would have a better situation.

5

Richard 08.03.06 at 5:17 pm

You’ve misunderstood me, DH. I’m not suggesting that we subsidize African farmers rather than ours. I’m saying that it is hypocritical to demand that their governments don’t subsidise agriculture or impose import tarriffs whilst at the same time subsidising our own farmers. Dumping our surpluses in Africa amounts to taking the bread out of their farmers’ mouths and it is completely immoral.

6

DH 08.03.06 at 8:04 pm

Richard I apologize. I don’t think I misunderstood you. I’m sorry if I gave you that impression. I think any tarriff is wrong in that it impedes free trade. I think it isfair in that affordable food is provided to third world nations as compared to otherwise. My potential answer to this situation in helping the third world as compared with you, is to have nations assist in helping the third world obtain additional agriculture technology. I feel tractors, high tech. irrigation systems, etc. and the technical assistence therein is a better solution than putting EU and American farmers at risk with either the elimination of the subsidies or the tarriffs. We must help the third world farmers produce more food subsistently than they do now. If they obtain this additional food with the additional technology they wouldn’t need to buy food on the open market which is subject to additional costs from producer to wholesaler to retailer. Does that make sense? Does that show a better understanding how I didn’t misunderstood you nad give additional clarity? Any thoughts?

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