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Stolen Fruit: The Tropical Commodities Disaster

By: Peter Robbins

188 pages, no illustrations

Zed Books

Hardback | Dec 2003 | #142779 | ISBN: 1842772805
Temporarily out of stock: order now to get this when available Details
NHBS Price: £32.99 $42/€37 approx

About this book

Takes a radical position in support of active multilateral intervention - in the form of commodity pricing agreements - to secure decent livelihoods for producers.

'Peter Robbins presents a comprehensive picture of the fall in global commodity prices, its impact on global poverty and of the factors underlying this crisis. In itself this is an important contribution to knowledge. But much more important is his reminder that this crisis in prices and incomes arises from the workings of a market system with a growing asymmetry of power - global buyers grow ever larger and more powerful, whereas commodity producers have been fragmented as the international agencies have systematically undermined marketing boards, governments in poor countries and agreements between poor countries to bolster prices by limiting supply. The analysis is made more credible and vivid by the author's first-hand experience in commodity trading and by his welcome subjective and accessible style of writing.' - Professor Raphael Kaplinsky, IDS, Sussex 'This is a welcome addition to the literature on the crisis in developing country agriculture. The book takes a radical position in support of active multilateral intervention -- in the form of commodity pricing-agreements -- to secure decent livelihoods for the people who do the growing. This proposal, put forward by a former commodity trader -- a poacher turned gamekeeper -- deserves to be listened to and argued with.' - Robert Jenkins, Professor of Political Science, Birkbeck College, University of London 'At the end of the day or, more exactly, commodity chains, "globalisation" manifests itself in the poverty of Third World producers that enriches those who feed upon them. In this vein, Peter Robbins provides a compelling account of "tropical" commodities, arguing for policies that might make for significant differences.' - Ben Fine, Professor of Economics, School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) Peter Robbins effectively demolishes the myth that international markets serve poor countries well, and proposes an exciting and workable new solution to the crisis facing primary commodity producers.' - Dr Claire Melamed, Senior Policy Officer, Christian Aid


Introduction 1 Winners and losers The scale of the decline in tropical commodity prices Estimating the loss The importance of tropical commodities The beneficiaries of the crisis The cause of the price collapse The way forward 2 A brief history of commodities in developing countries Independence Structural adjustment programmes Globalisation 3 Failing strategies Technical fixes Achieving higher yields Market linked schemes Useful innovations Conclusion 4 Controlling supplies and taming the markets Naming the actors Bringing the parties together How the plan might work Investing in processing Where to start? Enforcing the agreements Covering the cost Commodities with a wider growing area Flexibility and dynamism Conclusion 5 The benefits of supply management Boosting prices Targeting increased wealth Releasing land for food production Using price rises wisely Assisting the democratic process Autonomy Benefits to developed countries Changing trade rules to fight poverty 6 International rules affecting supply management programmes The role of the WTO Democracy and the WTO 7 The task begins The Oxfam initiative Coffee - the best candidate The WTO initiative 8 The face of opposition The main opposing arguments 9 A personal account Annexes, Sources and bibliography, Index, Tables

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Peter Robbins took early retirement from 20 years as a trader in rare and precious metals in the City of London, and became a consultant to the UN on trade relations between African countries and multinational companies. He has published several books on metals and agricultural markets and on sanctions against apartheid, including Tropical Commodities and their Markets (Kogan Page, 1995).

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