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  • African Cotton Farmers: Short End of the Stick Again (Video)

    This is the same reason why some countries and their indigenous people, never make real progress. As much as global powers exhort the want and willingness to address poverty and possibility, they are doing business as usual, because it serves their interests. As the CEO of Upstart: Business and Management for 20-40 Year Old Professionals, I vehemently believe that this is not the way to do business, and it’s morally wrong.

    Subsidized cotton by the United States and Europe, ruining Africa’s cotton market.

    The United States and Europe subsidize their cotton producers heavily (US subsidies alone came to USD 3.9 billion in 2001 and 2002), creating an imbalance in the international markets. This protectionism, which benefits 30,000 privileged farmers in the United States and Europe, threatens the livelihood of 10 million people in western and central Africa whose only resource is growing and exporting cotton.

    Four African countries have joined forces to launch an initiative at the heart of the WTO, attempting to put a stop to these hidden barriers to trade and the free exchange of products originating in developing countries. For the first time, emerging nations are using diplomatic means and the structures of the WTO to change the rules of international trade. In this era of globalization, small countries are demanding that the rules of globalization apply to everyone, and not just when the interests of developed countries are at stake.

    Cam Simpson and Alan Katz look at how egregious and intentional this has become in their BusinessWeek article, Booming Cotton No Boon to African Farmers Milked by Monopolies.

    Simpson and Katz state in Booming Cotton No Boon to African Farmers Milked by Monopolies, “Burkinabe farmers have no choice but to sell to government- sanctioned monopolies whose shareholders include trading firms such as Paris-based Geocoton and Paul Reinhart AG of Winterthur, Switzerland. In March, as cotton was hitting its highest price since the U.S. was recovering from the Civil War, a committee dominated by the monopolies altered the formula for setting the price each farmer gets. That cut payments for last season’s crop by 39 percent and reduced the base price announced in April…This should have been a year “when people can finally get a few dollars and put a metal roof on their house,” said Thomas J. Bassett, a geography professor at the University of Illinois who has been studying and writing about west African cotton farmers for more than 20 years. “These mechanisms result in poverty for producers and wealth for companies and traders. It’s subtle and it’s dastardly.”

    This is the same reason why some countries and their indigenous people, never make real progress. As much as global powers exhort the want and willingness to address poverty and possibility, they are doing business as usual, because it serves their interests. As the CEO of Upstart: Business and Management for 20-40 Year Old Professionals, I vehemently believe that this is not the way to do business, and it’s morally wrong.

    The Cotton War
    Watch this Video

    Good Luck.

    Calvin Wilson
    Founder and CEO
    Upstart: Business and Management for 20-40 Year Old Professionals
    calvin.wilson1@verizon.net
    http://twitter.com/Upstart__Nation

    Filed Under: Global Business

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