Collectif Stratègies Alimentaires    Collectif Stratègies Alimentaires asbl

Fair trade in tropical crops is possible

1er octobre 2008

"In spite of the growing rhetoric on international trade liberalisation that we hear today, developed
countries continue to support their agriculture using methods that are harmful to farmers in developing
countries. In WTO discussions, ‘non-trade distortionary’ payments are used as a pretext for continuing
to displace imports and for exporting products below their own cost of production. Meanwhile, world
markets for tropical crops that were actually liberalised have seen a deeper and more protracted price
fall than in the 1930s. This has led to poverty and land degradation, and is the major cause of the debt
crisis that has many developing countries in a stranglehold. Voices are now being raised calling for
new arrangements aimed at improving the prices of tropical export crops. Kenya, Tanzania, and
Uganda have placed the issue on the WTO agenda (WTO/CTD 2003). However, many western
economists and policy-makers resist such new interventions, claiming that it will reduce welfare and
encourage rent seeking. Moreover, in their view, the collapse of international commodity agreements
in the 1980s proved that price-raising controls are doomed to failure."