Monday, June 25, 2007

Cotton Prices

A newly issued report found that eliminating U.S. cotton subsidies would increase world prices by 6 to 14 percent. Eliminating U.S. cotton subsidies of $4 billion would mean an extra $46 to $114 per year for a typical cotton-producing household in West Africa , farmers' incomes could increase by about 5 percent . More than 10 million people in West Africa depend on cotton farming for their major source of income. A typical cotton-producing household in West Africa has about 10 family members. The average life expectancy is about 48 years, and fewer than one in four adults are literate. These households produce corn, cassava, and other cereals for home consumption, and they plant from two to seven acres(one to three hectares) of cotton. Farmers hand-pick their cotton, rely on rains for irrigation, and sell to only one cotton company. Cotton is often the only source of cash income for these families.

Education: In many countries in West Africa, school is not provided for free to children. Families mustpay school fees of $1 to $2 a month. Additional income from cotton sales could allow families to sendtwo to 10 additional children to school each year. Even when governments offer free primary education,families still have to pay for uniforms, books, supplies, and benches.
Health care: Households across West Africa spend about $12 per person a year on health care costs.9Higher incomes could pay for life-saving medicines, hospitalizations, and consultations for four to 10individuals for an entire year.
Fertilizer: This extra income could also cover the cost of fertilizer for 25 to 60 percent of a family’s cottonarea.10 And since inputs used for cotton tend to benefit other crops, too, this additional fertilizer couldhelp farmers produce more cotton to sell and more food crops to feed their families.

Socialists however does not counsel free-market price tinkering as a solution for the poverty of Africans but post to indicate the capitalist priority of American protectionism over humanitarianism . The only real solution will be the abolition of the market economy and the establishment of socialism .

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