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Impact of the US-Colombia FTA on the small farm economy in Colombia

This in-depth economic study assesses the potential effect of agricultural provisions in the US-Colombia FTA on Colombia’s small-scale farmers using data from official and reputable sources to carry out a comparative statics analysis.  It concludes that a significant number of small farm households would see substantial drops in their income as a result of the FTA. This would result in a deeper vulnerability for a population that has already been disproportionally affected by Colombia's internal conflict.

This FTA would force Colombian agricultural products to compete without any protection against US subsidized commodities.  As a result, according to this study, Colombia’s 1.8 million small farmers would see their net agricultural income fall by over 16 percent on average.  The damage would be concentrated among nearly 400,000 small farmers, most of whom now earn less than the minimum wage but who would lose between 48 and 70 percent of their income.  If 400,000 small farmers, who on average have less than five years of formal education, lose their livelihoods, their employment options will be limited.  They are likely to take up coca cultivation, engross the files of illegal armed groups, or migrate to urban areas to join some 5 million Colombians – over 10 percent of Colombia’s total population - forcibly displaced from the countryside over the last 12 years, the great majority of whom live in extreme poverty.


Andrea Perera

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