Elitist EU Holds Down LDCs

NGOs have complained that the European Union’s Common Agricultural Policy holds back farmers from Less Developed Countries by giving EU farmers an unfair advantage, enabling them to sell their produce at prices which are lower than production costs.

Customs barriers set up by the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) create unfair advantages for the EU farmers and hold back LDCs which need to sell their agricultural produce to develop. By subsidising farmers, the EU is able to create the conditions for farmers to export food products prices which are lower than production costs, meaning that less developed countries are unable to sell their produce at a competitive price.

Agriculture represents 3% of the GDP of the EU countries, while in some LDCs, it represents around 60%. Alison Marshall, of the Catholic Agency for Overseas Development, CAFOD, claimed in an interview with AFP that “In Western Africa, the agricultural workers earn less than a dollar per day and count on this to send their children to school and to buy medicines. W«And we tell them, ‘in the interests of a small number of very rich European farmers, we are going to take away your legitimate source of revenue’ ”.

The 30 OCDE countries spend350 million USD per year in agricultural subsidies, seven times more than they spend on development programmes in the World Bank. The CAP has recently been the cause of a rift between Paris and London, since Tony Blair wants a major revision of the agreement, while France wants to continue to subsidise its farmers heavily.

While a cow in Europe is worth more than a man in Africa, there will always be concern that the CAP is selfish, unfair, immoral and divisive. A cow in the EU receives 2.2 USD per day in subsidies. Half of the world’s population lives on less than that amount.


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