In 2008, the European Union sent 363 million euros to African countries. It is said to have provided food for more than 25 million people. What does this mean for Africa?
The source of these figures is the EU itself, and they are very proud of them. But where does the food for the 363 million euros that actually contributes to Africa come from?
Food in the basket
Agriculture make up about half of the EU budget. It is heavily subsidized, in the south it is subsidized by farmers growing low-quality tobacco, in France by producers of cheap wine (which is often then burned into industrial alcohol). These subsidies have the only real effect - help inefficient farmers. These subsidies certainly do not help all farmers; on the contrary, they do the vast majority as a result.
Inefficient farmers grow and breed inefficiently. The result is an excess of food - an excess of milk, meat and other commodities. The surplus, of course, pushes down the prices of these commodities, so farmers start calling for state (or union) intervention to prevent prices from falling. It is said that destroying commodity prices is destroying them.
The EU will therefore intervene. In the past, the union did it by buying out surpluses and then throwing them away (burning them). For illustration only:
"The EU institutions have destroyed more than 2 tonnes of fresh fruit and vegetables in order to keep the prices of these goods artificially high. Under its so-called CAP, the EU bought their products from farmers in 500 for a total of £ 000 million and then dumped these products. Some shocking numbers: apples fired 1993 439 tonnes, pears 968 614 tonnes, cauliflower 55 079 tonnes, tomatoes 126 727 tonnes… Under the same CAP, for example, the EU pays southern European tobacco growers one and a quarter billion pounds to produce tobacco of such low quality … Another £ 32 million is worth the production of inferior wine, which is then usually burned into industrial alcohol. ”
- Karel Kyncl, Common Agricultural Policy, Radioservis, Prague 1996, p. 63.
So food prices went up again - and it was us, consumerswho paid for inability of farmers and the EU. And they were all other manufacturers and resellerswho tore less as a result. Consumers had to pay more for food, so they could not spend that much on other products.
Food in Africa
Throwing food in the dump Of course, people didn't like it very much. And so the EU hid the same activity behind a nicer veil - it began to carry the surplus to Africa to provide humanitarian aid.
Many people began to praise that. Hunger-stricken Africa needs help!
But is the import of subsidized food help? Imagine that Poland subsidizes its potato growers, who then export these potatoes to the Czech Republic and sell them cheaper here than Czech growers. Czech farmers do begins to liquidate. That this is the vulgarity of the Polish government? And when the EU does the same, humanitarian aid?
The effect is the same - humanitarian aid to Africa is just a cheap subsidized import (from Africa's point of view) that destroys farmers there. Development agriculture however, it is the basis for the future development of industry and services. So, as long as there are massive imports of cheap agricultural products into Africa, farmers will not be rich in Africa until then, and until then Africa will be poor.
What damage are we doing to Africa and ourselves?
Let's take that value as a basis EUR 363 million. Farmers across Africa are losing at least as much. But that's not all.
Consistent and ongoing humanitarian aid is destroying the entire agricultural sector, which is rigid and not evolving. Europe has made Africa a junkie and the withdrawal treatment is always very demanding.
Furthermore, the artificially higher price of food in the EU means that people are forced to spend more money on food, they cannot spend it elsewhere. For example, by buying goods, some component of which is most likely produced in a third world country - whether it is a raw material, a substance or something else.
As a result, the import of cheap European food to Africa increases the power of local dictators and local interest groups (controlling the moribund economy), because it is these groups and rulers who have the ultimate power to redistribute humanitarian aid. That "humanitarian" aid, the importation of food, is nothing but social benefits at the state level. The same basic laws apply here.
"Social benefits are inherently treacherous. They may be useful, they may be necessary, they may be justified. But we should approach them the way a good doctor uses a dangerous drug - if possible, do not use at all and, if necessary, only the bare minimum. "
- Charles Murray