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African cotton growing nations criticize US farm bill
Jun '12
Mr. Arthur Kafando
Mr. Arthur Kafando
The “Farm Bill”, which is under consideration of the United States Senate, has been severely condemned by a group of African cotton producing nations.
African nations, which have opposed the US cotton subsidies for years together, criticized the bill saying it is subsidy under a new guise.
The Farm Bill is a five-year legislation that allows US farmers to insure their harvest against weather adversities, with Federal Government’s backing.
Raising concern over the bill, a delegation from C4 countries - Burkina Faso, Mali, Chad and Benin - visiting Washington said the bill would prove detrimental for African cotton producers.
Arthur Kafando, Trade Minister of Burkina Faso and Coordinator of the C4 group, said they are concerned because the new Farm Bill seems to be a type of subsidy.
The C4 group apprehends that the insurance programme under consideration in the Senate would do more harm than the direct subsidies being provided by Washington.
During a meeting with US Trade Representative Ron Kirk and other Senators, Mr. Kafando said the C4 countries are in favour of a major cut or elimination of subsidies irrespective of their source of origin – the US, India or China.
The farm bill necessitates spending US$ 970 billion over the next five years, which is US$ 23 billion less than the sum entailed under the expiring programme. The reduction is mainly due to elimination of direct subsidies to farmers.
With an aim to oppose trade-distorting subsidies, the C4 group launched a sectoral initiative on cotton at the Geneva-based World Trade Organization in 2003. However, as the Doha round of global trade talks were held up, the cotton issue remains unresolved.
Though the US cut the subsidy it provided to cotton growers to one-third since 2004-05, the cut was mainly due to increase in world cotton prices. Presently, the US provides around US$ 1.2 billion in subsidies to cotton growers.

Fibre2fashion News Desk - India

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