‘White Gold’ Turns to Dust

Which way forward for cotton in West Africa?

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Published: 1 March 2004

West African farmers continue to face severe deprivation because of depressed cotton prices. One factor is the dumping of exports from the USA, where overproduction is the result of government handouts worth $2.3bn. The US government shamefully disregarded the Africans when they took their complaint to the WTO, but the issue remains high on the agenda and is now the critical test of whether the Doha Round can deliver on development. Aid for West Africa is currently under discussion, but it must not divert attention from the scandal of US subsidies.