1409 The EPA: Risk for food sovereignty

SOS Faim

Over the last three decades African countries have benefited from a preferential access to the European market within the framework of the Lomé and Cotonou agreements. The EPA is going to change this relationship dramatically. Africa is called on to open up its own market and the EPA is based on the principle of reciprocity; They are legally restrictive, without closure date.


Agriculture constitutes the pillar of the African economy and is the means of subsistence for the majority of its population. It is the main activity of more than 60% of the population of sub-Saharan Africa and represents more than half of the GDP of some countries. It has only been during the last decade that peasant movements and civil society have begun to send out a call for food sovereignty.


The EU affirms that African consumers will profit from the EPA thanks to low-cost food products imported from Europe. But, in truth, who will profit from this? Food and agriculture are strategic national interests and the charge of them must not be entrusted to foreign firms and governments. Instead of managing its natural resources in an efficient way and of generating added value, Africa risks seeing itself confined in its present state and simply considered as a source of raw material.


Through commercial policies the EU has effectively blocked produce with an added value. A free-exchange agreement with the EU will have an impact not only on commercial relationships at a regional level, but will also limit the national space in support policies for agriculture and food sovereignty. It is necessary to demand that the government takes into account the right to food and food security in their negotiations over all commercial agreements. Local policies must also assure that small agricultural have access to local and regional markets.


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