The Ghana poultry industry may need this if the EU keeps dumping frozen chicken in Ghana
The European Union is dumping frozen chicken in Ghana, and the developed countries are dumping rice as well. The EU is also using EPAs (economic partnership agreements) that devastate African agriculture. Farmers throughout Africa find their livelihoods under assault. Farm products are highly subsidized in the developed world. And the developed world preaches to Africa about how you must have “open markets.” Africa opens its markets to Europe, which then dumps its subsidized excess on Africa, undercutting prices, and putting African farmers, who are not subsidized, out of business.
“People don’t want to buy local chicken because the imported ones are much cheaper” . . . Poultry farmers cannot recover their investments.
. . . For the last few years, the Ghanaian market has been flooded with cheap imported chicken from the European Union and the United States. These are usually fatty chicken parts that come in packages without labels. Nonetheless, demand for local poultry has collapsed, threatening the livelihoods of over 1,000 poultry farmers in both small and large-scale poultry farming in Ghana. In 2002 alone, more than 26,000 tonnes (one tonne is roughly the same measurement as a US ton) of chicken was imported into the country, mostly from the European Union where farmers receive generous subsidies for their products. In 2004, that figure was estimated to be as high as 40,000 tonnes.
Ghana imports almost one third of the EU frozen chicken that goes to Africa.
. . . Ghana’s position was further made hopeless when the poultry industry lost the battle with government not to reduce tariff on imported poultry.
This was seen by most farmers (poultry and rice) as a reversal of the government’s plan and pledge in 2003 to increase tariffs on imported poultry products and rice to boost their production in the country. The European Union, the source of most of the imported chicken provides 43 billion euros to its farmers annually.
. . . the removal of import customs barriers for European products would in fact put in direct competition the products often highly subsidised of one of the economically most advanced regions with those of the producers of some of the poorest countries in the world. He said this could accelerate the collapse of the poultry industry in Ghana and in West Africa as well.
Rice farming is in the same predicament, and equally endangered.
The rice industry aptly epitomizes what open trade policy is doing to food security. Rice is a major food security crop providing cash incomes as well as food for the household, and therefore saving the local rice industry from collapse is paramount to ensuring food security for many households.
. . .The removal of government subsidies and support have adversely affected the competitiveness of small farmers, and contributed to the unequal market situation whereby local Ghanaian farmers that received little state support have to compete with farmers and companies in developed countries that are heavily subsidized.
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. . . increases in imported rice have diverted consumers away from local rice, with their preference shifting from the more nutritious local grains to the imported milled white rice.
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The cheap imports of rice do not only undermine producers, processors and traders of local rice, but these imports also changed dietary preferences. They encourage consumers to buy imported rice instead of traditional foods such as yam, maize, plantain, cocoyam, etc. that are widely cultivated by female farmers.
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It was in this regard that Civil Society Organisations that met in Accra earlier this month condemned the European Union for abusing the December deadline to put unjustifiable pressure on African governments to concede to its terms in the Economic Partnership Agreements.
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They also cautioned African governments not to buy into the EU’s false claims. The CSOs from several African countries meeting in Accra, Ghana today re-stated that Africa has everything to lose and nothing to gain by signing EPAs with the European Union.
Dumping of rice in Ghana in the form of food aid has for long depressed the domestic price at the cost of Ghanaian rice growers.
Instead of EPAs, Ghana, and other African countries should adopt:
. . . the General System of Preference plus which will enable them to have access to EU market at levels similar to what they enjoy today, and this can even be improved.
“The EU claim that only the EPAs can guarantee this continued access is totally false”, said Tetteh Hormeku of Third World Network-Africa.
And other parts of Africa are suffering from the same EPAs:
. . . the hefty subsidies that European farmers receive while east African producers toil without government support. European products are therefore artificially cheap, and can be dumped on African markets while east African products are too costly to export.
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Products regarded as sensitive are especially those from the agricultural and manufacturing sectors. The domestic market remains a critical outlet for Kenya’s mostly impoverished small-scale farmers. They are not able to compete against imported products or in export markets.
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The Kenya Institute of Public Policy Research and Analysis (Kippra) has stated that unforeseen import surges can affect food security, livelihoods and rural development. Agriculture is the main employer and contributor to the gross domestic product (GDP) of low-income countries.
(In Kenya) agriculture contributes 16 percent of GDP and employs 75 percent of the workforce.
Western development “experts” have given consistently bad advice:
During the 1990s, when the international financial mantra was that governments should keep their hands off and let the free market work, many developing countries’ governments were told to stop negotiating prices and organising transport and marketing for thousands of small farmers. They did stop, but private substitutes for these services did not appear and thousands of little guys with limited access to market information, transport and credit were left to fend for themselves against large, sophisticated international buyers. And these farmers continue to compete with colleagues in developed countries who receive generous subsidies and whose home markets are protected by high tariffs.
This situation continues. Unless the governments in developing countries protect their agriculture, farms and jobs will be lost, and people will go hungry. This is also a major push out factor for workers in the developing world. Most people would rather stay in their own country if they can make a living there. But when you can’t make a living in one place, you’ll try and find a place where you can make a living. The alternative was voiced by a Zambian farmer-trade unionist . . . “If you will not pay us reasonable prices for our exports, we will export ourselves.”