The federal government has been paying out subsidies to cotton farmers in a bid to increase production levels of the crop. Today these subsidies face both criticism and support from various groups. Some view them as a waste of money by the government while to some it is a good move by the government to support the industry and protect it from high costs cotton production may involve.
Provision of subsidies to cotton famers is a good move for the federal government to boost cotton productivity in the country. Those against it may not see the simple fact that there are people, in this case cotton farmers, whose livelihood is dependent on this kind of farming. This means that without the subsidies these farmers would find it really hard to earn their income and maintain good living standards.
Cotton subsidies not only help the farmers but also help to ensure that cotton production is maintained. Cotton production may not seem so lucrative or feasible as the global market has been infested with synthetic alternatives. But the truth is that if there is any hope of fighting off biodegradable material it rests on organic products such as cotton. Cotton subsidies are also necessary as they give American farmers a competitive advantage in the international markets as they have reduced operational costs. This means that these farmers are assured that most of their produce will sell in the international markets.
The giving of subsidies to cotton famers is however a big issue in terms of fair competition in global markets. This is because there are countries that cannot afford the same kind of money that the federal government gives to its farmers. Hence farmers in third world countries especially in Africa are disadvantaged when it comes to competing with American farmers.
Also, these subsidies are in a way an unnecessary burden to the tax payer based on the fact that the farmers end up producing more cotton than is needed. Statistics show that between the years 2001 and 2004 these farmers received about $ 10 billion in subsidies from the government (Zachary, 2005, para 4). This money comes from the tax payers who end up suffering due to high costs of living brought about by taxation. It would make some economical sense to suffer such consequences for a worthy course, but not for something that has very little demand in the global markets such as cotton.
The government may defend its position and say that all these is necessary to maintain the cotton industry but the recent moves to pay subsidies even to famers in Brazil and France shows that this is not a matter of the government being concerned about its citizens. It is more a matter of maintaining a status quo by the government as a leading cotton producer. This then begs the question, just how far are the American people willing to go to maintain their status quo?
The subsidies by the United States government to its cotton farmers may be necessary to maintain a people’s livelihood but I believe they should be controlled to ensure their effectiveness. This means that the government should reduce the amount of subsidies given to the farmers or even invest some of that money in a more productive form of farming and then teach some of the cotton farmers this new farming.
Zachary, P. (2005). 100% Rotten. CNN Money. Retrieved from