Producers testify against cotton injustice

07 February 2011

In the nine years since the Doha Development Round was launched in 2001, the United States and the European Union have paid out a staggering USD 31.4 billion in subsidies to US and EU cotton farmers effectively squeezing 10 million West African cotton farmers out of these important markets.

At the 2011 World Social Forum ( 6-11 February in Dakar, Senegal), Fairtrade Africa will host a round table event denouncing this wall of subsidies. The main victims are West African cotton farmers, who are restricted in trading their way out of poverty.

The round table, to be held on the 9th of February, will provide a platform for Fairtrade farmers to testify how they are hardly able to cover their living costs due to limited access to markets.

“Sometimes I can’t sleep... The cotton price is not enough for farmers to cover our needs including school fees and health,” says Moussa Doubia, a small-hold Malian cotton farmer.

Fairtrade Africa and the Fairtrade Foundation will also launch ‘The Great Cotton Stitch Up’ report in Africa, which reveals the impacts of trying to compete against subsidised cotton. A coalition of farmer and political organisations is being organized to demand the phasing out and elimination of these trade distorting subsidies.

Read ‘The Great Cotton Stitch Up’ here. (Link to PDF)

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