Peter Robbins

Peter Robbins is a British author whose published works include Filthy Rich, Stolen Fruit, and a range of specialist books on related topics including precious metals markets, tropical commodity markets, trade sanctions, access to market information, and on support for rural communities. He was a commodities trader in the City of London for 30 years. He was able to retire from the business early and became a consultant to the United Nations on trade relations between African countries and multinational companies. He worked also as an advisor to the African National Congress on trade sanctions against apartheid. Since then he has worked for many development agencies on issues relating to agricultural trade policy and its impact on small-scale farmers.

  • Stolen Fruit

    The Tropical Commodities Disaster

    By Peter Robbins     January 2003

    Many countries in the South have been encouraged to grow coffee, sugar, cotton and other crops, but small farmers get only a tiny share of the final price of these commodities in the North. As prices collapse, the terms of trade between North and South have widened. This investigation, by one of the leading authorities on commodity trading, analyzes the current trading arrangements and their disastrous effect on foreign exchange earnings, tax revenues and economic growth in developing countries. Possible solutions are being proffered–from exploitation of niche markets to more radical notions like fair trade–but Peter Robbins shows how they all fail to measure up to the scale of the disaster facing the Third World. He argues that developing countries must bring supply and demand into a better balance that will secure far higher and more stable prices than today.