European Union and Canadian Farmers Also Adversely Affected

Loss of farmer livelihoods and income, and declining rural economies is also prevalent in the EU and Canada. In 2002 the EU Common Agriculture Policy (CAP) comprised roughly $50 billion, almost half of the EU budget. As in the U.S., only around 20 percent of EU farmers receive subsidies. Many of the EU "accession" countries are concerned about maintaining their agriculture base. Poland, for example, has 2.5 million small farmers. Following current EU policies, which discriminate in favor of large farms, many more farmers may be forced off their lands to make way for larger, more "viable" units.

Similar to the figures regarding the U.S. agriculture scene, these statistics demonstrate that the majority of Canadian and EU farmers are also not benefiting from international trade policies:

❖ The U.K. lost 60,000 farmers and farm workers between 1998-2001 and farm income declined an astounding 71 percent between 1995-2001.39

❖ A recent survey of United Kingdom (UK) farming districts found that the average farmer is earning only £3.60 per hour, below the UK minimum wage.40

❖ In Canada, farm debt nearly doubled since the 1989 Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement. Between 1996-2001, Canada lost 11 percent of its farms. 41

❖ The volume of Canadian exports doubled during 1989-1999. However, dropping commodity prices meant that farmers' net income declined 19 percent.42

In summary, the trend is clear: the majority of farmer incomes in the North are significantly declining, yet profit margins for large corporations are increasing at record rates.

Box Four

Was this article helpful?

0 0

Post a comment