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American farmers need to replace China with Africa as trade partner

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Last year was difficult for American farmers. The media mostly focused on trade war casualties, but not every problem in the world traces back to whomever occupies the Oval Office. The wettest stretch in recorded United States history delayed planting and harvesting last year, leaving crops vulnerable to frost. It took the largest amount of federal support in more than a decade to prevent farm incomes from dropping.

Hopes for better luck this year have been dashed. Because of the pandemic, net farm incomes are projected to fall by $20 billion. That number is surely too rosy, since it assumes China will keep its trade deal commitments, which is increasingly unlikely. Instead of contributing toward its agreed upon agricultural purchases by buying from American farmers, China purchased a record number of Brazilian soybeans earlier this year. It also included a superior force clause in the trade deal, which was finalized just as the coronavirus was spreading through Wuhan.

Moreover, the deteriorating relationship with China makes its market increasingly risky. The solution? Find new ones. Africa should be at the top of the list. According to the African Development Bank, net food imports to the continent were $35 billion in 2015. In five years, they will be $110 billion. This is a huge opportunity for American agriculture, and the government can assist our farmers while it aids struggling people in Africa.:snip:

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