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Draft Paper – Not to be cited without author’s permission

Market access

We believe that the benefits of “market access” are illusory goals for the benefit of the family farmers of developing countries. As the common statement of Via Campesina and ROPPA (Africa) indicated in May 2001, “In less developed countries, the first priority of farmers is to produce for their families, then to seek access to their domestic market, before seeking to export.” The international pricing of commodities, the advantage of destructive industrial techniques in developed countries, and the exclusivity of market arrangements with multinational trading corporations will eliminate most family farmers in developing countries from any benefits whatsoever. This is not a picture of broad based development or democratic participation.

Who actually benefits from the export oriented market access solution?

The first beneficiaries are a handful of business elites and the landed oligarchy in developing countries that have the technology and political connections to profit from market access. They are supported by structural adjustment programs of the World Bank that require developing countries to repay their burdensome debts to multinational banks. This export oriented agriculture benefits the privileged few and leads to further underdevelopment rather than development with a view to the future.

The second group of beneficiaries includes multinational agribusiness corporations that benefit from expanded access to cheap inputs and new markets to be served by their reliance on industrial processing and retailing techniques. Local markets and customary activities are destroyed. These corporations have also started to move their agricultural production from the North to less developed countries (from US to Mexico, from EU to South America, Africa, etc.) to benefit from cheap labor and land.

Continuing down this path will lead to the loss of sustainable family farm based agriculture around the world, including in the EU and US. Cheap feed grains and protein meal already have led to the destruction of diversified family farms with replacement by inhumane and polluting livestock factories often owned or controlled by multinational corporations.

More and more farmers and governments in developing countries, together with the CPE and NFFC, are saying, “No!” to further “trade liberalization” under WTO which will be

so destructive to their society, culture, governments stop the intense political and

and environment. economic pressure

We demand that our being exerted on them to

comply with EU and US WTO policies that result in the curse of intensifying the rural crisis, urban congestion, and unemployment.




Thus, CPE and NFFC demand that the European Union and the United States abandon their current agricultural and trade policies. The rules of international agricultural trade must be based on the right to food sovereignty, which excludes any form of dumping but allows countries to develop their own domestic food and agricultural policy. Current


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