Ploughing Through Mexico
Originally posted on September 07, 2003 9:44 AM
Coldplay frontman Chris Martin has got behind a hand-guided plough in Mexico to promote fair trade with Third World producers.
The band, who are on tour in the country, met Mexican corn farmers to demonstrate their belief that opening agricultural markets to free trade drives small farmers out of business.
Martin, who has been a high profile Make Trade Fair campaigner for years, told ananova: "This is an injustice. These people should be fairly rewarded for their work. We get fairly rewarded for ours."
Martin added that the band feels an obligation to use its massive popularity as a platform, but understands the limitations of the role.
He added: "We are a billboard for the idea, rather than a solution to the problem. We're Champagne socialists, but we believe in equality. If I hadn't had help from these farmers, I would have gone straight into the earth and dug a new Panama Canal."
Cultivating small plots - sometimes five acres or less - Mexican corn producers struggle to compete with imports from expansive, government-subsidized US farms.
The band timed its Mexican tour to coincide with a World Trade Organization meeting being held in the resort of Cancun.
Trade ministers from the WTO's 146 members will discuss a trade treaty cutting tariffs and subsidies and further opening markets to foreign trade.
Coldplay are performing in Mexico City before traveling to Cancun to deliver a "Big Noise" petition, written by the British charity Oxfam, to trade ministers attending the conference.
The petition, which carries over three million signatures from around the world, asks governments to Make Trade Fair by taking measures such as reducing subsidies to farmers in rich countries.
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