Dashed Expectations

Small-scale farmers are the clear losers in the first year of the US-Colombia Free Trade Agreement.

Dashed Expectations - The Free Trade Agreement between the United States and Colombia entered into force over a year ago. A study commissioned by Oxfam looked at the available data from the first nine months of the Agreement and identified some worrying overall trends as well as specific agricultural products at risk of adverse impacts affecting small-scale producers in Colombia. The study examined a set of indicators to create a risk index and alert system, ranking whey, rice, white corn, milk powder, and pork to be at greatest risk because of increased imports from the United States and a fall in import prices.

Efectos del TLC Colombia - Research published in May 2015 outlines how in the two years after entry into force of its trade deal with the US, Colombia’s agricultural trade deficit increased by 300%, helping to push the country from having a trade surplus with the US to having a trade deficit. The study also shows that small and medium-scale farmers producing wheat, rice and dairy products faced the greatest risk of being adversely affected as a result of the FTA, with producers of poultry, pork, corn and to some extent beans, confronting serious problems as well. Interviews with farmers showed that many have had to resort to reducing their use of inputs, reducing household consumption or defaulting on debts. Overall, farmers’ incomes dropped, they reduced production and saw themselves facing an uncertain future.

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