Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Fair Trade?

German eats nearly 19 kilograms of poultry per year. Breast of chicken is the most popular cut. It is not only beautifully white and tender and also has a low fat content. It is also what the heath conscious in Europe prefer. German farmers produce 25 percent more poultry than their consumers eat. Parts of the birds that can't be sold easily in Germany, such as the innards, are shipped to Africa. Africans are sold the "Chicken Back" which is the bony back part from which the white breast has been removed.

Ghanaian consumers can buy imported frozen chicken parts for the equivalent of two euros whereas the price of a whole chicken from the farmer next door is four euros.  The reason that the EU poultry parts can be so cheaply exported to Africa is because of the introduction of factory farming. Production costs are covered by European sales alone. Francisco Mari, who is an expert in agricultural trade at the German relief organization Brot für die Welt believes this makes a mockery of development aid projects that try to help poorer countries stand on their two feet and extricate themselves from poverty.

Back in 1980s and in 1990s Ghana was able to meet 80 percent of its national poultry demand with domestic production says Quame Kokroh, Executive Secretary of the National Poultry Association. "Since then, cheap imports turned the market upside down. But today our farmers have a share of only ten percent and we are afraid that we will lose that too," he said

In 2003, Ghana's Parliament tried to fight the cheap imports by increasing in import duties, but after a short time, the government overturned the law. "I think it was the pressure from the international community," says Quame Kokroh.
Francisco Mari agrees. "Ghana was negotiating with the World Bank for a debt relief loan at the same time. If the government had not backtracked, then the state would have lost a lot of money."

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