Imperialist countries often use development aid to force neoliberal economic reforms on poorer countries. USAID, the US government’s notorious ‘foreign aid and assistance’ program has a history of promoting export-oriented agricultural production in countries like Haiti. This is what happened there:
This “aid” from the Americans, along with the structural changes in the countryside predictably forced Haitian peasants who could no longer survive to migrate to the cities…where the new manufacturing jobs were supposed to be. However, when they got there they found there weren’t nearly enough manufacturing jobs go around. The city became more and more crowded. Slum areas expanded. And to meet the housing needs of the displaced peasants, quickly and cheaply constructed housing was put up, sometimes placing houses right “on top of each other.”
USAID is operating in Nepal, and not just in easily accessible urban areas. Reporters from the blog Winter Has Its End observed projects associated with USAID in fairly remote, rural areas of the country, where small-scale peasant agriculture is the primary occupation. If Nepal follows a capitalist path of development, its future might resemble Haiti’s.
The article below suggests USAID in Nepal is working with Monsanto, one of the most widely hated corporations in the world. Genetically modified crops sold by companies like Monsanto have destroyed the lives of farmers in India, causing many to commit suicide. This note from USAID’s site confirms that the organization is helping Monsanto to push its hybrid varieties of corn, However, it disavows the claim that GMO seeds are part of the deal.
As usual, reports from the bourgeois press should be considered with some caution. The article originally appeared here.
Monsanto partners with USAID to push GM corn in Nepal
Sunday, November 20, 2011
by Jonathan Benson
The southeast Asian country of Nepal is once again having to fight against foreign interests that are trying to take over its agricultural system. Biotechnology giant Monsanto apparently has its sights set on bringing genetically-modified organisms (GMOs) to this sliver of a country just north of India, and it is allegedly working with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), a so-called humanitarian group, and officials in Nepal to make it happen.