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
Legendary blues and rock singer Joe Cocker has died of lung cancer, his management team as confirmed. He was 70
people70-year-old was most famous for 'You are So Beautiful'
News
people
Sport
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho
footballLatest score and Twitter updates
Life and Style
fashionOne man takes the hipster trend to the next level
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Life and Style
Approaching sale shopping in a smart way means that you’ll get the most out of your money
life + styleSales shopping tips and tricks from the experts
News
newsIt was due to be auctioned off for charity
Life and Style
A still from a scene cut from The Interview showing North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's death.
tech
Environment
Sir David Attenborough
environment... as well as a plant and a spider
Voices
'That's the legal bit done. Now on to the ceremony!'
voicesThe fight for marriage equality isn't over yet, says Siobhan Fenton
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: IT Support Technician - 12 Month Fixed Term - Shrewsbury

£17000 - £20000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Helpdesk Support Technician - 12 ...

The Jenrick Group: Maintenance Planner

£28000 - £32000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: Maintenance...

The Jenrick Group: World Wide PLC Service Engineer

£30000 - £38000 per annum + pesion + holidays: The Jenrick Group: World Wide S...

The Jenrick Group: Project Manager

£35000 per annum + Pension+Bupa: The Jenrick Group: We are recruiting for an e...

Day In a Page

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'