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publié dans Ressources le 28 janvier 2014

Article Rural 21 : World agricultural trade – who benefits, and who are the losers?

Rural 21

Commerce internationalConférence, colloque, séminaire

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A frequently fierce and emotionally heated debate has been fuelled by world agricultural trade and a constantly increasing and nowadays global exchange of large amounts of food that is viewed critically by many. Accusations made by many NGOs and civil societies were quoted by Carl-Albrecht Bartmer, President of the German Agricultural Society (DLG), at the start of a lecture event held in the context of the DLG Winter Conference in Munich/Germany in mid-January 2014. There were claims that millions of people in poorer countries were disadvantaged because the rules benefited the rich and favoured the international agricultural corporations in particular. Moreover, with their considerable commodity flows, the global agricultural markets were also catching the attention of the financial markets. This, it was argued, was encouraging speculating on future price developments of food, which, unlike other commodities, was a focal issue in terms of ethics.

But, as Bartmer questioned, is world agricultural trade really the cause of underdevelopment and hunger in the Third World? Or is it not rather the case that – just like in the rest of the economy – it makes the value chains significantly more efficient, thus enabling an optimal use of production and sales in various regions of the world? Doesn’t it enable and promote participation in world prosperity, which has been demanded again and again?

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