Protecting African rice
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CTA. 2005. Protecting African rice. Spore 117. CTA, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/47930
Internet URL: http://spore.cta.int/images/stories/pdf/old/spore117.pdf
West African rice producers are invoking their right to protect their commodities, as laid down in the latest draft agreement on agriculture drawn up by the World Trade Organization (WTO) to regulate imports to the continent. In December 2004, delegates f
West African rice producers are invoking their right to protect their commodities, as laid down in the latest draft agreement on agriculture drawn up by the World Trade Organization (WTO) to regulate imports to the continent. In December 2004, delegates from farmers organisations in Benin, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Togo delivered a petition urging action to the West Africa Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU). They argue that rice is not simply an export commodity but is a staple food which is crucial to African people (see Spore 115). They claim that massive imports have destroyed local markets and plunged producers into poverty. WAEMU countries could produce a better quality rice than the by-products (broken rice) or poor quality products which are inappropriate for consumption (from 5 to 10 years old) which are currently imported from Asia. They say that the WAEMU should use all its political weight and influence (in an area which is essentially made up of least developed countries) to convince its partners to accept certain principles for protecting the domestic market. Specifically, the signatories are urging that custom tariffs for white husked rice and broken rice be immediately increased from 10% to 20% and that the quality of imports be regulated. They also want to see some sort of legal obligation which would force importers to purchase at least part of their requirements from local sources.