West Africa Farmers Against EU Economics, International Competition

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Written by Soumaila Diarra

In Burkina Faso, people mostly fear the consequences of possible speculations on the price of agricultural products like the cereals. According to the main organization representing the country’s farmers, 80 percent of the local population is living from agriculture — but they are not able to supply the international market with competitive products.

In West Africa, many professional organizations think the agreement linking their countries to Europe may hinder the process of the regional integration, which started in 1975. Hence, Burkina Faso CPF is calling on to the leaders of ECOWAS to suspend the new tax system and to review the agreement with the EU countries with the involvement of the farmers’ organizations.

A different scale of international competition?

According to Mamadou Goïta, a Malian activist, the mobilization of farmer organizations is important.

“The agreement could have been signed years before, but it had been delayed by civil society organizations, which has been supported by former Senegal president Abdoulaye Wade. The plan was to end the process in 2007,” he told AFKInsider.

Some activists say the ACP countries have been obliged to sign the agreement in order to benefit money for the development of their countries.

Goïta also said the European Union is imposing to Africa what it refused to the U.S. — requesting a free-trade system with Europe. The activist still wonders why the Doha round of negotiations on cotton failed, despite Europe preaching the values of free-trade.

“At the World Trade Organization, the Europeans and Americans refused to abandon some subsidies that have negative impacts on African cotton producers whose production can’t face the international competition,”