The European Union and Developing Countries : Partners or competitors ?
Reactions from the floor and from participants in round table n°3 on the topic "the European Union and developing countries : partners or competitors ?"
- Gérard Renouard (AFDI) :
- Fight against the forces that threaten plurality in world agriculture. Many are too quick to condemn agriculture.
- Develop strategic alliances for influencing WTO negotiations.
- Jean-Christophe Debar (PLURIAGRI) :
- Some press organs are quick to issue false propaganda about developed nations’ domestic agricultural subsidies, claiming they amount to 1 billion USD per day when the real amount is more like 250 million USD per day.
- In reality, the effects of developed countries’ domestic agricultural subsidies are felt in contradictory ways by developing countries, depending on whether the subject is producers or other actors (for example, consumers) and on whether a country is a net importer or exporter of a certain product.
- It is not useful to exaggerate the impact of agricultural policies of the North on world trade, but instead the value and meaning of farming in both North and South should be emphasised.
- Erik Orsenna :
- African cotton should be saved for its fabulous educational value ; African cotton growers do a better job with other crops.
- Growing cotton in Andalousia, across from Ceuta and Mellila ... Stop !
- Certain illusions should be put to rest forever, such as that of the "just price".
- We should not lose sight of the fact that in most agricultural sectors, like cotton, the final customer is king and that Africans should adapt better to opportunities and to demand requirements.
- We should not deny ourselves the right to conduct research on GMOs ; failure to pursue research in this area (as in France) shows a lack of precaution.
- African nations needs to build alliances among themselves for some other reason than war !
- Privatisation is not a religion, but simply a technique where only economics count.
- François Traore (APROCA) :
- States need to be able to say things to each other, face to face.
- There is too much imbalance in international trade ; powerful countries have too much influence over our agricultural policies. There is not enough cooperation with France.
- M. Ngoan (ANOPACI) :
- In order for a partnership to be of any value, both partners have to have equal weight and say. This is not currently the case.
- The EU’s EPA (economic partnership agreements) will never work. Case in point : the banana.
- We are ignored and find ourselves faced with a fait accompli. We don’t get to exercise any real influence over decision making or on shaping policy
- S. Sarr (ROPPA) :
- French farmers’ unions have to help us.
- The Cotonou Agreement is a bad agreement because it’s undemocratic. And what’s more, our African States do not pay their dues, so these agreements do not function.
- G. Rajpati (Mauritius) :
- We need to be united in our actions in the WTO as a necessary condition both for blocking measures as well as changing things.
- Discussions have to be carried on also with the multinatinals.
- The EU’s APEs are not a solution.
- L. Kariuki (Kenya) :
- Coffee earns producers 0,50 US $/kg while it costs consumers 15 à 20 US $/kg ; this has to stop !
- Structural adjustment programmes destroyed our industry.
- We will never be on equal footing with the North ; we need to play with a handicap, as in golf. But we also need to get off welfare.
- We will not be truly independent until we can pay the airfare of French farmers whom we invite to visit us.
- JC. Sabin (AGROPOLE) :
- Watch out for destructive quarrels between wealthy countries and those who are about to be, quarrels settled at the expense of the LDCs.
- We should be looking at ways to be better partners.
- J. Salmon (APCA) :
- What will be the dominant agricultural model of tomorrow ? Multinationals’ agribusiness or family farming ?
From the floor :
- ROPPA :
- The real problem is the choice of production model :
- agribusiness (which dictates the rules to small producers) ?
- the export-driven model ?
- The free-market model ?
- The peanut oil industry in Senegal is undergoing a crisis, as it competes with other vegetable oils imported at low prices. The repercussions are severe.
- Jean-Christophe Debar :
- How can the market economy contribute to the development of LDCs ?
- FARM could deepen our undertanding of :
- the tariff preferences which have reached their limits (rice, sugar, banana) ;
- how to involve emerging nations in granting preferential tariffs for LDCs. (with Marcos Jank) ;
- the positive role GMOs could play in the agricultural development of developing countries and especially the LDCs.
From the floor :
- SENEGAL : Developed countries protected their agriculture for decades. Now its the turn of developing countries to protect themselves, since they can’t keep being supplied with food by boat.
- MADAGASCAR :
- credit is a determining factor : we need to develop rural microfinance and change interest rates (which can get as high as 40% - for short term loans - in Madagascar)
- rethink partnerships between the EU and Africa
- our national political leaders ought to be better informed about and work more closely with their constituencies.
- SENEGAL :
- CDEAO exports do not compete with EU products but imports from the EU compete with our local goods.
- Nous sommes favorables aux soutiens à l’agriculture, sous réserve qu’ils reconnaissent aux agriculteurs le droit de vivre décemment de leur travail, au Nord comme au Sud.
- as they recognise the right of farmers to earn a decent living from their work, in the North as in the South.
- We are in favor of cotton which gives us access to inputs and finances roads
- J. Salmon (APCA) :
- Agricultural development requires effective and well-trained producers’ organisations, which are given real responsibility to accompany and help their members.
- P. Pagesse :
- We have all reached the same conclusion that we are threatened by unregulated markets. It is time to reason differently and to establish rules for harmonious development.
- We cannot build a stable world on an unstable market.
- The recent founding of a World Organization for Agriculture (Woagri) has happened just in time to promote a balanced system of trade regulation that would avoid uncontrollable market swings.
- Meetings like this one need to happen more often.
Publié le : 20 juillet 2006