Today, the Initiative for Public Policy Analysis (IPPA) – the Nigeria-based public policy think tank, issued a statement condemning the French Government’s proposed tax on palm oil that will disadvantage Africa, and undermine efforts to alleviate poverty across the continent.
The proposed taxes – a huge additional tax of 90EUR per tonne and a differential tax for palm oil produced according to rich Western standards – is purposefully discriminatory and would lead to devastating consequences for African farmers of palm oil, and throughout the rest of the developing world.
Thompson Ayodele, Director of IPPA, said:
“The French Government’s proposed tax on palm oil at the behest of rich agricultural interests in Paris is shameful and will undermine small farmers and efforts to alleviate poverty across the African continent.”
“The differential tax proposed by certain EU companies and Western elite Green groups is equally discriminatory. This is a neocolonial attempt by the French to dictate to Africa, and enrich large European companies at the expense of poor African small farmers.”
“Small farmers produce 80% of Nigeria’s palm oil, and they rely on it to feed their families and improve their living conditions. The French tax on palm oil is not only unfair and unjustified, but also illegal under the WTO trade laws and undermines France’s commitment to the UN Millennium Development Goals.”
The French Government is supporting an anti-palm oil campaign by radical Green and Socialist politicians. This action will not only undermine poverty alleviation, but is also discriminatory towards African small farmers. Segolene Royal, French Environment Minister, is leading the campaign to discriminate against Africans and palm oil small farmers, who will be dramatically cut from supply chains if these proposals become law.
How the French Government now responds is a test of their honesty and integrity. The new French Foreign Minister, Jean-Marc Ayrault, stated clearly that France would never impose taxes on palm oil. The French Development Agency – AFD – invests in palm oil in Africa because they know it is a lifeline for escaping poverty. President Hollande himself has claimed on multiple occasions that he wants to strengthen France’s ties with Africa. This new palm oil tax, if left as it is, undermines all of those words and shows that the French Government merely pays lip service about helping poverty reduction in Africa.
Ayodele continued: “French President Hollande cannot claim to be helping African countries out of poverty while at the same time preventing market access for palm oil. This is an act of protectionism and neo-colonialism towards the people and communities of Africa. These taxes are an open attack on African small farmers, their families and communities that rely on palm oil to survive.”
Issued by IPPA