The United States is attempting to pull a fast one on the people of El Salvador with a new Trojan Horse “aid” package that would require the Central American country to purchase genetically-modified (GM) seeds from Monsanto in exchange for taking American taxpayers’ hard-earned cash.
The non-profit group Truthout explains in a new report that the U.S. government is pushing a $277 million aid package that would force Salvadorian farmers to buy GM seeds that must be purchased annually from transnational corporations, and that only grow with the regular application of expensive, toxic weedkillers.
“During the last two months, the U.S. government has been attempting to pressure the government of El Salvador to sign the second Millennium Challenge Compact with the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), a U.S. foreign aid agency created during the presidency of George W. Bush,” writes Dahr Jamail for Truthout.
“The signing agreement was allegedly based upon the condition that El Salvador purchases GM seeds from Monsanto in conjunction with the Millennium Challenge Compact.”
After news of the plot was leaked, farmers across El Salvador banded together to protest the plan, which aims to obliterate their country’s food sovereignty. Rather than allow seed distribution to continue through local farmers, the aid package would reapportion El Salvador’s seed stocks through multinational corporations, which would control their supply.
“We would like the U.S. embassy and the misinformed media outlets [that are pressuring the Salvadorian government to change their procurement procedure] to know more about the reality of national producers and recognize the food sovereignty of the country,” stated Juan Joaquin Luna Vides, a 45-year-old Salvadorian farmer who heads a local community development organization.
Non-profit groups already providing aid, seeds to struggling farmers without GMOs
Like thousands of other Salvadorian farmers, Vides recognizes that the U.S. government is not actually trying to help his country with the tempting aid package, which would provide millions of dollars in much-needed funding. Instead, the goal is to subvert local agriculture and replace it with corporate agri-dominance.
“We are threatened because the U.S. is pressuring the government of El Salvador so that its seed is not purchased from local families struggling to escape poverty, but transnational businesses,” said the Confederation of Federations of Salvadorian Agrarian Reform (CONFRAS), which represents 131 farming cooperatives and 6,000 rural farmers, in a statement back in May.
The U.S. embassy in San Salvador denies that U.S. interests are at all trying to push Monsanto into the country. It issued an online statement recently alleging that the Ministry of Agriculture’s procurement program is in no way related to the purchase of genetically-modified seeds, purporting that the goal of the program is simply to supply corn and bean seeds “in a competitive, objective and transparent manner.”
But Vides’ group is already doing this with natural seeds, as it works alongside both non-government organizations (NGOs) and the government itself to supply Salvadorian farmers with renewable seeds that don’t tie them down to transnational chemical companies. According to Truthout, the Diversified Production program at the Mangrove Association, which is currently headed by Vides, has been providing non-patented seeds to farmers for more than five years, and has been widely successful.
“Before, small producers didn’t have the opportunity to participate in government seed procurement processes,” the coffee and vegetable farmer told reporters, noting that any Monsanto involvement will only hinder the progress that’s already been made.
“The program has generated employment and income for communities, inhabitants and cooperatives of the area, while producers have also greatly developed their capacity to produce certified seed. Catering to transnational companies could hurt these gains that the program has created.”
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