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USAID Food Rejected As
Harmful For African Farmers

By Adriana Stuijt
De Telegraaf newspaper in Amsterdam reports today on page 11 that the international aid agency CARE has rejected an American USAID food donation of R45-million -- because the American food-aid is 'inefficient and very damaging to Africa farmers'.
Link to Dutch-language newspaper: a.. http://www.telegraaf.nl
For years, the US taxpayer -- through the USAID food agency -- have paid for heavily-subsidised US agricultural products such as grain and soy being shipped with American ships to Africa - where this food is supposed to be 'donated to food-aid agencies across the continent'.However, it's little-known inside the US that instead of feeding starving populations directly, these charities merely sell this USAID food directly to local traders to finance their own charities with - usually to support their own officials' salaries and expenses with the proceeds.
CARE also used to participate in this USAID scheme -- which is also hugely profitable for the highly-subsidised American farmers and the US shipping companies and also put huge salaries into the pockets of thousands of mostly foreign, 'development-aid' workers throughout Africa.
However CARE has now rejected the entire USAID scheme. CARE says this 'dumping of vast supplies of subsidised American food surpluses' onto African markets is causing very unfair competition for millions of struggling, small-scale African farmers all across the continent, including in South Africa.
They also point out that the USAID system also is very inefficient, with vast profits being made along the way by the US transportation companies taking the food to Africa. Locally-produced food can be redistributed much quicker and cheaper, they point out.
De Telegraaf's article also claims that former US president Jimmy Carter is said to be one of the harshest critics of the USaid food-dumping programme and that 'he agrees with CARE's viewpoint'. It's not known why Carter was unable to stop the USAID programme during his term as US president.
CARE emphasises that it 'still remains in favour of food-aid to help desperately-hungry populations during famines'.
Especially African countries such as Ethiopia and Kenya, (which has a permanent US military presence,) have been the main recipients of massive amounts of USAID food -- but since last year, Eritrea's government has persistantly refused it. And recently the Tanzanian govenrment has also turned down USAID offers.
The UK newspaper The Observer wrote in May this year that dirt-poor Malawi in southern Africa had had good harvests for the first time in years -- in spite of the ravages of Aids amongst their production-age population, their small-scale farmers were finally clawing back from a long drought. However these local farmers, who are primarily women, were totally unable to profit from their crops because 'the markets were saturated with USAID-food from the United States - 'even porridge was being shipped at vast expense from the US under this donor-scheme and sold at ridiculously low prices on local markets.'
One aid-agency worker noted pn a blog of The Observer in this regard that he had personally seen: "sacks of food stencilled "A Gift From The American People" tumbling off the back of lorries into the arms of the traders. They were slitting them open there and then and selling them.'


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