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Caritas leader: EU farm subsidies contribute to 3rd World poverty

Catholic World News - December 07, 2010

A “neglect of small-scale farming” and “the impact of EU agricultural subsidies” have helped contribute to poverty in the developing world, Lesley-Anne Knight, the secretary general of Caritas Internationalis, said during a December 6 address at the European Development Days in Brussels.

In doing so, the head of the Church’s consortium of relief and development agencies echoed comments made by Bishop Ignatius Chama of Mpika (Zambia) at the Synod of Bishops for Africa in 2009:

I want to emphasize here the local economic crisis that I and my people experience in our rural diocese in northeastern Zambia. This is the crisis when crops our local hardworking farmers have grown fail to reach markets or fail to get just prices. It is the crisis felt when foreign investors supply their commercial supermarkets with crops imported from outside Zambia. It is the crisis caused by trade practices, both domestic and international, that mean subsidized goods brought in from Europe curtail fair competition with local goods.

“Compassion for those who live in poverty should not be confined by geographic boundaries,” added Knight. “We are calling for a global, democratic and green economy with human and environmental sustainability at its heart.”

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