Saturday, March 10, 2007

U.S Welfare Subsidies and global effects

PBS NOW has a program on the effects U.S subsidies have on global cotton farmers. A few excerpts ...
There are roughly 30,000 cotton-growers in America who receive billions of our U.S. tax dollars every year through government subsidies. ... Ray Offenheiser, president of the anti-poverty organization Oxfam America told NOW, "There is a direct association between these subsidies and the hunger in Africa and the plight of African farmers."
The website also has podcast and a video, with responses from Oxfam and the U.S National Cotton Council.

The community in Vidharba region of Maharashtra is sustained by cotton farming. In recent years it has been plagued by farmer suicides. A number of articles on this topic can be found here and here. On Jan 3, 2006 P.A. Sainath writes in his column "The swelling register of death"
Farm suicides in Vidarbha since November 1 have crossed the 100 mark. There have been 200 since June 2. But the last 100 have occurred in less than two months. A little more than 65 farmers have taken their own lives in December alone.
"Note that the rise in suicides has followed the fall in cotton price," points out Vijay Jawandia, Vidarbha's leading farm activist. "This is no surprise. The government's so-called `relief package' of Rs.1,045 crore for the farmer has not had the slightest impact on the trend."
Question is: Is the world listening?

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