Europe, UK, Ireland, Organizations in the News, Trade/Markets/Prices

Farmers’ protests in Europe and the dead-end of neoliberalism

On February 26, the World Trade Organization (WTO) held its 13th ministerial conference in Abu Dhabi. While few would make the connection between the proceedings at that summit and the plight of impoverished farmers across the world, there is indeed a direct and clear link between the two.

“On that day, we, members of the European Coordination Via Campesina (ECVC), an international organisation representing small-holder farmers in 21 European countries, will be protesting against the neoliberal policies in agriculture the WTO has been promoting for decades which have led to the systematic impoverishment of farmers.

“This tragic state of affairs has been highlighted by the continuing protests of farmers who have been taking to the streets, blocking motorways and logistics platforms across Europe since January.

“These are people who produce Europe’s food – whether conventionally or organically, on a small or a medium scale. They stand united by a shared reality: They are fed up with spending their lives working incessantly without ever getting a decent income.

“We have reached this point after decades of neoliberal agricultural policies and free trade agreements. Production costs have risen steadily in recent years, while prices paid to farmers have stagnated or even fallen.

“Faced with this situation, farmers have pursued various economic strategies. Some have tried to increase production to compensate for the fall in prices: They have bought more land, invested in machinery, taken on a lot of debt and seen their workload increase significantly. The stress and declining incomes have created a great deal of frustration.”

Source: Aljazeera. Full story here
Photo: Credit Frederick Florin/ AFP

Editor & Publisher: Lukie Pieterse

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