OPINION

Farmers’ deadlock

…Our cotton farmers are not producing out of the goodness of their hearts. They are selling their product at a price that has no bearing on reality. They have become accustomed to a regime according to which the state – and the European Union – pays growers almost three times the market price for their produce. Therefore, they have become used to the idea that their product is not subject to market rules, while they receive an income for their labor and for their costs. But they are not the only ones with such a distorted view of reality. The entire agricultural sector lives in the same world of subsidies – a sector which produces 6-7 percent of our gross domestic product but employs just 14 percent of the working population. Such a contradiction cannot be maintained, whatever the government’s intentions may be. Slowly, but surely, the number of farmers is dwindling, as the need for more workers in the urban sector increases. The agricultural sector, with its high cost of production and low competitiveness, is in decline. And high production costs not only limit competitiveness in agricultural exports but also in the food and drink industry. They also boost the cost of living index, which is significantly influenced by foodstuffs. In short, the low productivity of the agricultural sector is infecting our entire economy like a virus…