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The Tea Controversy Dear Sir,

LETTERSReaders’letters should be short, sharp and sent to “Letters Page”, NEW INTERNATIONALIST STAGE HOUSE, HIGH STREET, BENSON, OXON, U.K. Contributions will normally be shortened unless it is stated that a letter must be used in its entirety or not at all.

Misguided Tours Dear Sir,

The idea of ‘alternative tourism’ is interesting and exciting. Its validity, however, is entirely dependent on the emergence of a new species of holiday maker - the ‘alternative tourist’. Until a ‘newlook’ vacation globe-trotter appears, I am led to believe that the best policy developing countries can pursue is the very antithesis of the ‘alternative tourism’ line.

1 find the ‘Tea Controversy’ very disturbing. The consumers should be doing something about this state of affairs. U is not so much thoughtlessness but sheer ignorance which makes 50% of the population of this country - which owns 90% of its wealth (see the latest issue of the government publication “Social Trends” ) - unaware of the situation; otherwise, they would gladly pay more for their tea if they realised that thereby crude exploitation could be arrested. To suggest finding owners of large tea plantations who would understand that their greed for high profits has inhuman consequences, might be like looking for a needle in a hay stack; but might there not be a little chance to convince an owner or a company that they must pay fair wages to the native workers? And could not an organisation be started by which a large amount of the tea would, find a guaranteed market, if a certain, more expensive brand could be clearly associated with a con­

In recent years, I have lived in two African countries - Tanzania and the Gambia. In the former, the socially disruptive effects of tourism are not obvious, even in the large urban settlements. In the Gambia, however, the moral and social fibre of the nation has been sorely and visibly weakened by the influx of foreign visitors. Various factors are responsible for this contrast: the internal politics of the two states, the nationalities of the tourists visiting each area . . . But I believe that the most impor­

tribution to stop crude exploitation. Mrs. H. Forries, Birmingham. Editor’s note: Further information on the ‘Tea Controversy’ may be obtained from War on Want’s Tea Report (see page 5).

tant difference lies in the nature of the holidays taken in East and West Africa.

East African holidays are gamewatching affairs. The tourist is whisked from the airport to the game park - which, by force of law, is a depopulated zone - and back.

West Africa is less well endowed with game, and its visitors therefore amuse themselves by swimming sunbathing and socialising with the indigenes.

I am convinced that it is for this reason that the Gambia proliferates with pimps, prostitutes, street corner bums and gigolos while such people are rare in Tanzania. James Batty, Cheshire.

Law of the Sea Dear Sir,

Will it be possible to prepare readers for the Law of the Sea Conference, perhaps - no, undoubtedly - the most important event of 1974, for on it the very life of the planet depends. Dr. Paredo’s high ideals are being eroded by selfish nationalism. Mrs. E. Dransfield, Liverpool. Editor’s note: The New Internationalist will be featuring an article on the Law of the Sea Conference in the June issue.

Baby Foods Dear Sir,

With reference to the tinned milk controversy, may I suggest the following measures which keep the market for dairy produce, and hopefully bring down the prices, while making for breast-feeding by mothers and less health risks.

1) all tins of milk should be sold with a plastic cap - once the tin is opened this keeps ants, cockroaches and flies out.

2) the emphasis should be switched to milk consumption by the expectant and nursing mother to improve the quality of her milk.

3) research should be done about the possibilities of preserving cheese (other than processed) out of refrigerators in hot climates, and the consumption of cheese by growing children encouraged (and prices cut), as use of tinned milk always has the risk that the water will not be properly boiled. Jean W.S. Moir, Bath, Somerset.

Intermediate Technology Dear Sir,

Intermediate technology techniques are required by the Third World. This philosophy is attractive, yet my attempt to apply it on a trip to Central America was wholly disastrous.

I went out to demonstrate a new system of house construction and a carefully devised labourintensive erection process. On my arrival I found that labour costs were barely less than in England and that productivity was about 50% of that here. This, coupled with a hopeless shortage of adequate supervision at the foreman level, which reduced productivity a further 50%, meant that real labour costs were astronomical.

There was no possibility of my system competing, and it seemed that I had to turn to as mechanised a system as possible.

For a brief moment I considered pressing the labour-intensive system on the social grounds that employment was essential to the countries’ development, but the impossibility o f this was obvious. I was aiming for the low-cost housing market - in this market the price of the house is largely governed by the possible repayment levels of the intended owners or tenants. To have used labourintensive methods to build the houses would have taken them out of the price range of the ‘poor’ that they were intended for. The die is not yet cast. What advice am I offered? Malcolm Wilder, Brighton.

Coffee for Canada Dear Sir,

In your January issue of the New Internationalist, you report about the Angolan Coffee Campaign of the Haslemere Group in Britain.

Your readers, especially your Canadian readers, might be interested in knowing that there is a similar Campaign in progress in Canada, and so far a very successful one too, despite our problem of great distances, which make any consumer boycott very difficult. Erich Weingartner. Montreal. "Coffee fo r Canada means Blood fo r A ngola ” is available at $0. 75 ($0.50 in bulk) from the Southern Africa Information Group, Box 4443, Station E, Ottawa.

38 Missionaries Dear Sir,

Why did you not answer the Rev. R. Bridle’s legitimate query about the authorship of the article “ 38 Missionaries Speak Out on Chile” ? Your response was, “ the present Chilean Junta deserves all the criticism it gets” . I agree entirely but surely you realise that this is an ideological pronouncement, not a straight answer on the validity of your sources. Christine MacLeod, Derby.

Editor’s note: We apologise to Rev. Bridle and Miss MacLeod for not being more direct. Relevant information is available from Julian Filochowfki, Education Secretary at C.I.I.R. (01-727 3077).

NEWINTERNMlOMUSr The New Internationalist is pub­ lished by Devopress Ltd., and edi­ ted and produced for them by P.A.C. Ltd., Stage House, High St., Benson, Oxon, UK. Tel: Crowmarsh 4717. It has the jo in t backing of Oxfam, Christian Aid and Third World First and its aim is to inform and involve as many people as possible in the campaign for world development. A year’s subscription costs £3.00 post-paid. Subscriptions and correspondence regarding distribution or address changes should be directed to Jean Blay, Research Publications Services Ltd., (R.P.S.), Victoria Hall, Greenwich, London, SE10 ORE. Tel: 0 1 -8 5 8 2574. International Distributors: Australia: Community Aid Abroad, P.O. Box 125, Armadale, Victoria 3143. New Zealand: Education Office, CORSO, 303 Willis Street, P.O. Box 2500, Wellington. Australian and New Zealand annual subscription price $10.00 including air mail postage. Canada: New Internationalist, Oxfam Canada, P.O. Box 758, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. United States: New World Coalition Room 209, 419 Boylston Street, Boston, Mass. 02116. North American annual subscription price $9.00 including air mail postage. Europe: R.P.S. Ltd., Victoria Hall, Fingal Street, London SE10 0RF. Annual subscription rate £4.00 or equivalent. All other countries: Annual subscription rate £4.00 (sea mail) £7.50 (air mail) from R.P.S. Ltd., Victoria Hall, Fingal St., London, SE10 0RF The New Internationalist is produced and sold by Peter Adamson (editor), Lesley Adamson, Jon Danzig, Tony Hart Fry, Iain Guest, Alice Lindsay, Eric Rix, Noreen Smith, Dexter Tiranti, Troth Tiranti, Sue Tuckwell. Design by Peter Bland of Concept Graphics.

Miaiimr Philippines: Marcos’ Moslems . . 2 Switzerland: Seasonal Slavery . . 2 Angola: Unsettled S t a t e 3 Africa: Apartheid Embattled . . 3 Latin America: Traveller’s Tales . 4 Costa Rica: Voting in Harmony . 4 Agencies: Taking o f f ......................5 Taken for a R id e ............................6 The Wages of T in ............................8 The Sugar Charade................... 12 We’ve got what she wants . . . 14 The Story of Jose ................... 19 Slums for S a l e .............................21 Thought for Food .......................22 Articles and opinions expressed in the pages of New Internationalist do not necessarily represent the views of the sponsoring organisations. Front Cover photo by David Fox Printed by Battley Brothers Ltd., London.

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