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Globalization takes toll on agriculture
El Salvador Watch, No.64, November 1997
The world over, the process of economic globalization is taking a devastating toll on agricultural communities.
This has been true in the United States, and is certainly a phenomenon El Salvador has been facing as the ARENA government imposes the neoliberal economic model designed in Washington.
At the insistence of the World Bank, many governments are re-orienting their economies to exclusively benefit big business. One aspect of this is the promotion of policies that encourage the opening of agricultural markets in developing countries to competition from agro-businesses in the North.
By also starving small farmers and cooperatives of credits and other support, these policies are driving them to extinction. Aside from ruining the livelihoods of millions, this destroys the capacity of developing countries to produce their own food.
Like the provision of healthcare, social security and other essential services, the global economic powers see food not as a right, but merely as another commodity.
Therefore, its production can be turned over to corporations, as a simple money-making enterprise.
In their view, the rules of the global economy must be written to allow corporations the freedom to profit from food production. They must also therefore deny governments the freedom to guarantee a food supply for its own population by supporting agricultural producers.
By forgiving its agrarian debt, El Salvador's legislature has delivered a stinging rebuke to these misguided rule-makers.
Asked about the World Bank's certain disapproval, David Hernandez, an alternate deputy to the Assembly for the FMLN (who is currently on a CISPES-sponsored tour in the United States) commented that "El Salvador is a sovereign country and the World Bank will just have to learn to live with it."
"El Salvador Watch" is produced nationally by CISPES. CISPES is a national organization with chapters in 25 cities around the country. In addition to our National Office listed above, we maintain the following regional offices:
Western States Regional Office
Midwest Regional Office
East Coast Regional Office
New England Office
Produced by CISPES,
the Committee in Solidarity with
the People of El Salvador,