Sikasso-African peasants at the forum held to counter the G8 summit criticised the subsidies enjoyed by the rich nations’ producers, which they said were squeezing them further into poverty.Â
“I cannot make ends because the imported equivalent of my produce is less expensive than mine,” said Momine Bengaly, from behind a stall displaying corn, okra and soyabeans.
The stall was set up as part of an exhibition on the sidelines of the anti-globalisation forum of the world’s poorest countries, which was set up to run parallel with the G8 summit in Germany.
Because of subsidies offered to industrialised countries’ agricultural producers, imported goods tend to be much more less expensive than locally-produced goods in Africa.
“They are doubly killing the peasants,” said forum spokesman Nouhoun Keita. “There are not only the subsidised imports, but the peasants’ products do not have access to the international market,” he said.
Mali’s African Coalition for Debt and Development, which groups about 60 non-governmental organisations, has brought together about 1,000 anti-poverty campaigners to highlight the plight of the world’s poorest countries.
No less than 23 African nations sit at the bottom of the United Nations poverty ranking of 177 countries.
Topics under discussion at the Mali forum include debt, food security and immigration, as well as the creation of an alternative to the World Bank.