This article is from the (RED) edition of The Independent, guest-edited for 16 May 2006 by Bono. Half the revenue from the edition will be donated to the Global Fund to Fight Aids.

EU subsidies deny Africa's farmers of their livelihood

British households pay an extra £832 a year in grocery bills due to the huge EU subsidy system that is also depriving tens of thousands of African farmers of their livelihoods, a charity warns.

Everyday goods such as bread, milk, sugar and chicken are all more expensive because of the payments made to British and European farmers. At the same time, dumping of subsidised produce in African countries is forcing local producers out of business.

Claire Godfrey, trade policy adviser for Oxfam, said: "Not only does the Common Agricultural Policy hit European shoppers in their pockets but strikes a blow against the heart of development in places like Africa.

"The CAP lavishes subsidies on the UK's wealthiest farmers and biggest landowners at the expense of millions of poorest farmers in the developing world. The UK Government must lobby hard within the EU to agree an overhaul of the CAP by 2008 to put an end to the vicious cycle of overproduction and dumping."

The £30bn-a-year EU agricultural subsidy regime is one of the biggest iniquities facing farmers in Africa and other developing counties. They cannot export their products because they compete with the lower prices made possible by payments.

In addition, European countries dump thousands of tons of subsidised exports in Africa every year so that local producers cannot even compete on a level playing field in their own land.

Meanwhile, governments of developing countries come under intense pressure from the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund to scrap their own tariffs and subsidies as part of free trade rules.

World trade talks aimed at reaching agreement on subsidy reform have stalled because of the EU's intransigence over its CAP.

The CAP costs British taxpayers £3.9bn a year and also adds £16 a week - £832 a year - to the average family of four's food bill.

The £1.34bn-a-year EU sugar regime was ruled illegal by the World Trade Organisation last year and European countries were found guilty of dumping too much subsidised sugar in developing countries under-cutting local farmers.

But at the moment, proposed reform of the regime will only end up hurting the poorest African and Caribbean farmers who currently have special access to European markets and will be denied any compensation for the losses generated by the changes.

European farmers are guaranteed a price for their sugar three times higher than the world price and there are restrictions on foreign imports - backed up by import tariffs of 324 per cent. Export subsidies, meanwhile, allow surplus EU sugar to be dumped at bargain prices in African countries.

Mozambique loses more than £70m a year - equivalent to its entire national budget for agriculture and rural development - because of the trade distortions and South Africa also loses £31m a year.

While chicken producers in Europe do not receive direct payments, the grain that feeds the birds is subsidised, substantially reducing the cost of farming.

The effects

* SUGAR

Farmers in Europe are guaranteed a price for their sugar which is three times higher than the world price. Mozambique loses more than £70m a year because of restrictions on importing into Europe coupled with the dumping of cheap exports at its door, while 12,000 workers in Swaziland have lost their jobs because the local industry cannot compete.

* WHEAT

Kenya, Nigeria and Senegal have been hit by cheap, subsidised imports from Europe while the £30 paid to British farmers for every tonne of wheat they produce inflates the price of breakfast cereals, bread and other goods in Britain.

* MILK

Thousands of tonnes of surplus powdered milk from the EU are dumped in West African countries such as Mali at a cheaper price than local cattle owners can sell at, holding economic growth back. The dairy subsidies have driven farmers in India and Jamaica out of business.

* CHICKEN

Our preference for chicken breasts and legs means that thighs and wings are often frozen and exported to Africa where they are sold for rock-bottom prices. Chicken farmers in Senegal and Ghana used to supply most of the country's demand - now their market share has shrunk to 11 per cent because subsidised imports are 50 per cent cheaper.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
peoplePair enliven the Emirates bore-draw
Arts and Entertainment
tvPoldark episode 8, review
News
Britain's opposition Labour Party leader Ed Miliband (R) and Boris Johnson, mayor of London, talk on the Andrew Marr show in London April 26
General electionAndrew Marr forced to intervene as Boris and Miliband clash on TV
News
United States President Barack Obama, right, uses actor Keegan-Michael Key from Key & Peele to play the part of 'Luther, President Obama's anger translator'
video
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Senior Accounts Assistant - Accounts Payable - St. Albans

£26000 - £28000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: Senior Accounts Assistan...

Ashdown Group: Treasury Assistant - Accounts Assistant - London, Old Street

£24000 - £26000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

Recruitment Genius: Installation and Service / Security Engineer

£22000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is part of a Group...

Recruitment Genius: Service Charge Accounts Assistant

£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you a a young, dynamic pers...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence
Public relations as 'art'? Surely not

Confessions of a former PR man

The 'art' of public relations is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef succumbs to his sugar cravings with super-luxurious sweet treats

Bill Granger's luxurious sweet treats

Our chef loves to stop for 30 minutes to catch up on the day's gossip, while nibbling on something sweet
London Marathon 2015: Paula Radcliffe and the mother of all goodbyes

The mother of all goodbyes

Paula Radcliffe's farewell to the London Marathon will be a family affair
Everton vs Manchester United: Steven Naismith demands 'better' if Toffees are to upset the odds against United

Steven Naismith: 'We know we must do better'

The Everton forward explains the reasons behind club's decline this season
Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions