Cotton in West Africa

The Economic and Social Stakes

image of Cotton in West Africa

In West Africa, approximately 16 million people depend directly or indirectly on cotton cultivation. But subsidies in the developed world have suppressed cotton prices and have made it difficult for West African producers to compete.  Compounding the problem, WTO negotiations on the problem have been suspended.  This publication contends that the dialogue between developed and developing countries on this topic must continue. It sets out the regional stakes linked to the economic and social importance of cotton in West Africa. It retraces the consultation process on the West African cotton crisis with the aim of finding a negotiated solution acceptable to all parties. Also discussed are the challenges and the measures that need to be taken over the medium and long term in order to prevent this sub-sector’s sudden collapse.

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West African Perspectives: Challenges for the Cotton Sub-sector

Sahel and West Africa Club

In recent years the SWAC Secretariat has, through meetings, special events and field visits, held ongoing consultations with a wide range of regional actors on the priority issues facing the cotton sub-sector in West Africa. This has included governments, regional organisations, NGOs, private sector, producers, etc. Notwithstanding some competing interests and differing perspectives, there is a high degree of consensus among regional actors on the key stakes regarding the issues facing the cotton sub-sector in West Africa and wider implications for agricultural development. Key points emerging from these consultations merit careful consideration in the development of regional and international initiatives to address the difficulties faced by the African cotton sub-sector in the years to come.

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