Independent Catholic News logo Welcome Visitor
Tuesday, February 28, 2017
CAFOD says Free Trade Agreement will destroy poor farmers' jobs
Comment Email Print
¬†The Catholic Agency for Overseas Development (CAFOD) yesterday expressed concern that this month's full implementation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) will result in job losses for poor Mexican farmers and make their wages worthless. It was claimed NAFTA would boost the economic prosperity of the Latin American country when, infact, CAFOD believes it has pitted poor Mexican farmers against US and Canadian heavyweights. CAFOD backs the bold statement of the Mexican Bishop's Social Action Commission which said: "There is a very real risk of greater impoverishment in rural and indigenous areas," if the issues surrounding NAFTA are not addressed. CAFOD, which has worked in Mexico for more than 30 years and has campaigned to raise awareness of the plight of small farmers affected by NAFTA since 2001, supports the bishops' call for the Mexican government to guarantee its people have enough food to eat, to protect national production and to consider renegotiating NAFTA. Roisin O'Hara, from CAFOD's Latin America and Caribbean team, said: "CAFOD welcomes the bishops' powerful statement condemning the free trade system and applauds their expression of solidarity with Mexico's poorest communities. "Trade liberalisation has filled Mexico with cheap alternatives, leaving small producers unable to compete. Every hour the country imports an estimated 1.5 million dollars worth of agricultural and food products, almost all from the US. During the same hour, 30 people leave their homes in the Mexican countryside to seek work in the US. "We have witnessed first-hand the devastating effects unfair trade policies are having on the poor and agree we have a moral responsibility to speak out and support them out of poverty." Indigenous coffee farmer, Vicente Gůmez, whom CAFOD supports through a partner organisation in the south of Mexico said: "Since NAFTA we get very little for what we sell. Now coffee only brings in 6 pesos a kilo but a pair of trousers is 100, shoes 150, hat 50". The bishops' statement also said: "Mexico cannot close its borders indefinitely, not only because we are not self-sufficient in everything but also because the market now exceeds national limits in both its benefits and limitations. "However, when the laws of the market impose upon the rights of the people and communities, profit becomes the supreme value and serves the large interest groups, excluding the poor and generating a global economic system which is both unjust and inhumane." It continued: "It is necessary to seek paths, in the sphere of international commerce, which change those systems which generate injustice and exclusion in those countries or sectors of society which are less developed. No system is untouchable when it generates death." The bishops warned: * More farmers may abandon their farms and migrate to cities or to the US which "currently has a very strong and inhumane anti-immigration programme". * More farmers may be tempted to cultivate illegal crops which will open the door to insecurity and violence. * The increasing demand for fuel for industry is stimulating the production of bio-fuels derived from grain which has serious consequences for the ability of the country to feed itself. The bishops concluded their statement by referring to the words of Pope Benedict XVI: "The just ordering of society and the state is the principle task of political bodies and not the Church. However the Church cannot remain at the sidelines in the fight for justice".
Share:  Bookmark and Share
Tags: None

Powered by Bondware
News Publishing Software

The browser you are using is outdated!

You may not be getting all you can out of your browsing experience
and may be open to security risks!

Consider upgrading to the latest version of your browser or choose on below: