Drinking rainwater from banana leaf, Nigeria. (c) I. Uwanaka/UNEP peopleandplanet.net
people and poverty and trade
Drinking rainwater from banana leaf, Nigeria. (c) I. Uwanaka/UNEP
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poverty and trade > factfile

Poverty and hunger
Some 1.1 billion people in Africa, Asia and Latin America are materially poor, with incomes of less than a dollar a day. Around 2.6 billion live on less than US$2 a day. Many of the poor are jobless, voiceless and powerless, either landless or have tiny plots, If they work in the informal economy they are often underemployed. Women and girls make up 70 per cent of their number. They are poorly educated and in poor health, their housing and shelter are meagre and they have few resources. Their life expectancy is short and declining in some countries. ... more

The rich-poor divide
In 1960, the per-capita gross domestic product (GDP) of the 20 richest countries was 18 times that of the 20 poorest countries. By 1995, the gap between the richest and poorest nations had more than doubled to 37 times. ... more

Unequal trade
World trade has grown 27-fold in volume terms since 1950, three times faster than world output growth... "but progress has been uneven and success limited in some areas." (source: World Trade Report, The GATT/WTO at 60, WTO December 2007. ... more

Tariffs and quotas
Developed countries often import raw materials from developing countries free of tariffs - a tax by the importing country on the product as it enters their market - or at a very low tariff. If the material is semi-manufactured it will normally attract a tariff. If fully manufactured then an even higher tariff will apply. Under quotas, only a certain volume of a product is allowed entry. ... more

Food trade
Most food is consumed in the country where it is produced. But international trade in major foodstuffs is increasing faster than production. Trade in agricultural products and foodstuffs grew from US$65 billion in 1972 to US$ 468 billion in 1997, and to US$ 634 billion in 2004. (Source: FAOSTAT, FAO. 2006) ... more

Agreement on Agriculture
The Agreement on Agriculture (AoA) is one of four agreements to emerge from the Uruguay Round of trade talks (1986 to 1993) which set up the WTO. The stated objective of the AoA is �to provide for substantive and progressive reductions in agricultural support and protection�, in order to reduce distortions in world agricultural markets. The agreement is basically a pact between the US and the EU and serves their interests; developing countries had minimal input. It covers market access, export subsidies, and domestic support for agriculture; non-trade concerns, including food security, are mentioned in the preamble. ... more

Farm subsidies
In 2006, government support to farmers in countries (mostly Western) belonging to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) totalled US$268 billion. This is a fall from $327 billion in 2000. The chief beneficiaries of farm supports were large-scale agricultural businesses. ... more

The case of Latin America
In the 1980s and 1990s, a number of developing countries pursued policies dominated by international trade. The need to increase exports and to earn more foreign exchange - often to pay off foreign debts - often came, however, at the expense of agricultural policies and food security, worsening the plight of the hungry. Latin America provides an example. ... more

Structural adjustment
Structural adjustment programmes were introduced by the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank in the early 1980s, when many developing countries were in deep recession, caused partly by international factors outside their control. Countries had to implement SAPs if they wanted aid, debt relief and investment. Over 80 developing countries have implemented these programmes. ... more

Trade and the environment: Latin America
Trade policies in Latin America, to encourage the export of fruit and vegetables have led to severe environmental problems in a number of the exporting countries. The international market demands produce with no blemishes and farmers feel they have to use large amounts of pesticide - far more than is used on most traditional crops. Encouraged to grow vegetables and fruit for export, farmers regard pesticides as the way to guarantee that their produce arrives in top-notch condition. ... more

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