Starving them by way of penalising their parents, that’s what.
Why don’t they ‘try harder’, ‘invent things’, ‘add value’ to something instead of sitting under their Baobab tree, waiting for Europeans to do something with their abundant raw materials? Possibly because the EU has arranged things so that they are penalised if they do so.
Enjoy your morning coffee today? Kenyan was it? ‘Fairtrade’ even? The EU is quite happy to see Kenyans out in the boiling hot fields harvesting coffee beans, but they are not so happy seeing them do something mechanised and clever with the beans, like roasting and packaging them. Any upstart Kenyan with fancy ideas like that will quickly find that the EU has slapped a 7.5% tax on them – not to protect the EU’s coffee bean growers, we don’t have any, but to protect the mainly German coffee bean processors.
The United States and Australia, arguably the two biggest markets for processed coffee after Europe, don’t penalise the Kenyans – but are further away, so shipping costs are higher. Jamaica has an excuse for its swingeing 100% tax – they have their own coffee trade to protect – but Europe? Just those German factories aroasting and agrinding, preventing the Kenyans from progressing. Out of the EU, we can have cheaper coffee, and help those Kenyan parents feed their chidlren better.
How do the cocoa farmers in Nigeria fare? The EU allows them to earn a subsistence living so long as they leave their cocoa beans well alone. We have no plans to set up cocoa farms in Northumbria, so are quite content to let the Nigerians do it for us – but anything easy and profitable, like using machinery to process the beans and turn them into luxury bars of Chocolate…well can’t let them do that. Then the EU fines them 8.30%, and throws in an agricultural tariff of 18.70 % not to mention their latest wonder, the ‘sugar tax’. Why? Well there’s the American owned Cadbury’s for a start.
The Kenyans turned their hands to growing roses, that other European luxury staple. Since it had never occurred to anybody that they would do that – there was no tariff on fresh cut flowers. The industry thrived. Every night plane loads of beautiful roses arrived in Amsterdam and were sent out to flower shops across Europe. The EU demanded the right to flood the Kenyan market with tariff free EU goods in return. Can’t have Kenya developing its own mobile phone manufacturers can we. When the Kenyans refused to agree to this – the EU promptly slapped an 8.5% tax on those cut flowers; they only removed it when the Kenyans agreed not to try to make anything complicated and let the Europeans do it for them.
Back in 2009, the Archbishop of Canterbury was on the fashionable ‘carbon footprint’ bandwagon and urged us all not to buy Kenyan green beans – the following year, the UK’s Department for International Development gave Waitrose, yes Waitrose, £200,000 to swallow their fear of angering the Archbishop – and put Kenyan green beans on their shelves!
The beans are sent to Europe in 5kg boxes; once in Europe, they are repackaged in 120gm cardboard slips, given the names of fictitious farms where they have been grown, and sold onto the supermarket customers. Tescos undertake to send any ‘substandard beans’ onto frozen food manufacturers for inclusion in ready meals – good of them really, ‘cos if the Kenyans had any uppity ideas about canning their beans, the EU is ready with a tax of 12.8% to discourage them.
Don’t even get me started on the Banana wars.
So, if we leave the EU, we can stop being tarred with the EUs ‘colonial attitudes’ and start having a decent relationship with our old chums the Kenyans.