Pricing Farmers out of Cotton

The costs of World Bank reforms in Mali

Published: 15 March 2007

With global trade talks stalled at the World Trade Organization, rich-country cotton subsidies remain unabated, hurting poor cotton farmers. World Bank led reforms to privatize the Malian cotton sector, including the adoption of a new price-setting mechanism, are further exacerbating the dire conditions in cotton-producing communities.

A minimum level of price stability is vital for income security in the cotton sector and to prevent further slides into poverty. The wider donor community should provide adequate funds to finance a cotton-sector support fund, as well as invest in rural extension services and sustain capacity building of farmers to enable them to maximize their returns from new market opportunities.