Policy Development

African smallholders in focus. A voice in EU trade policy - a dialogue oriented public advocacy (international capital flows & trade)

Smallholder farmers in focus

Three quarters of the hungry people of the worldlive in rural areas, and the majority of them are smallholder farmers. An important reason for this problem is their marginalisation in both national and international agricultural and trade policymaking. The situation is particularly severe in Africa where a very large part of the population lives in rural areas, and the absolute number of hungry people continues to rise. Trade liberalisation as promoted by WTO, IMF and World Bank has not contributed to the economic prospects of smallholder farmers who often only have a small share in the export economy and at the same time are most likely to be adversely affected by cheap agricultural imports. Prominent examples are the low-cost exports of tomatoes, beef or chicken from the EU to Western Africa. Local markets are flooded with cheap products, and the resident smallholders cannot compete. In many cases, it is the combination of dumping by developed countries and import liberalisation that threatens the human right of the smallholders to adequate food.

Impact of trade negotiations

Two current negotiation processes may have a serious impact on the agricultural trade between EU and Africa and consequently on smallholder farmers:
  • Negotiations of Economic Partnership Agreements (EPA) between the EU and six country groups of Africa, Caribbean and Pacific, which should be finalised by the end of 2007;
  • Agricultural negotiations in the World Trade Organisations (WTO), where no agreement seems to be in sight at the moment.
Even though these decision-making processes will have major consequences for smallholder farmers, their views are inadequately reflected in the current negotiations. There is a strong movement against EPAs and the current WTO negotiations in the ACP countries. Regional ACP networks of small farmers have been very active in developing their platforms. By our advocacy work we want to strengthen the voice of smallholder farmers in the WTO and EPA negotiations.

We will organise:
  • Studies about the impact of EPAs, IMF, World Bank and WTO policy on smallholder farmers;
  • Fact Finding Missions (FFM) with farmers, their organisations and NGOs to Zambia, Ghana and Uganda to get a better understanding of the impact of agricultural trade policy on farmers;
  • Exchange conferences and meetings to develop a common strategy for our political work;
  • Photo exhibitions and public events to illustrate the impact of trade policy on smallholder farmers.

Contact Information:

Germanwatch e.V.
Contact person: Kerstin Lanje
Address: Kaiserstr. 201, D-53113 Bonn - Germany
Tel: +49-228-60492-15; Fax +49-228-60492-19
Email: lanje(at)germanwatch.org
Website: www.germanwatch.org

Foodfirst Information & Action Network(FIAN)
Contact person: Armin Paasch
Address: Düppelstr. 9-11, D-50679 Cologne - Germany
Phone: +49-221-7020072; Fax: +49-221-7020032
Email: a.paasch(at)fian.de
Website: www.fian.de

UK Food Group
Address: 94 White Lion Street, London, N1 9PF - United Kingdom
Phone: +44-207-7135813; Fax: +44-207-8371141
Email: ukfg(at)ukfg.org.uk
Website: www.ukfg.org.uk

FIAN International
Contact persons: Sofia Monsalve, Thomas Hirsch
Address: Willy Brandt Platz 5, D-69115 Heidelberg - Germany
Phone: +49-6221-6530051; Fax: +49-6221-830545
Email: hirsch(at)fian.org
Website: www.fian.org

Contact person: Dr. Burghard Ilge
Address: Nieuwe Keizersgracht 45, 1018 VC Amsterdam - the Netherlands
Phone: +31-20-6230823; Fax: +31-20-6208049
Email: bi(at)bothends.org
Website: www.bothends.org