Johannesburg, South Africa Aug. 29, 2002 SolarQuest® iNet News Service
As a follow up to yesterday’s Oxfam report on free and fair trade, a demonstration today articulated the demands and concerns of this organization regarding agricultural subsidies of developed countries.
|Oxfam volunteer dumping sugar on Africa
|Photo: Mandy Paton-Ash
At 10:30 this morning, Oxfam volunteers poured buckets of sugar over a table, on which was placed a map of Africa. Cries of “down with EU subsidies” and “fair trade for developing countries” were heard as sugar was symbolically “dumped” on Africa.
On interviewing an Oxfam delegate from Mozambique, a more demure opinion and statement was found. Mozambique is currently recovering from civil war and attempting to rehabilitate their sugar industry. They are doing this with the help of funding from the World Bank, who requires no tax on sugar imports in order to facilitate their monetary funding. So, in essence, the World Bank is funding a project that they are in fact jeopardizing themselves! Due to the lack of sugar import tariffs, it is difficult for Mozambique to enter the world market and to promote local consumption of local production.
The sugar industry in Mozambique is currently employing 12 000 people, and has the potential to employ 30 000, if given a chance to expand and grow. Current owners of the sugar industry are foreign investors, although governments have a share in ownership.