The children in the Global South aren’t dying of hunger because there is no food, but because they have no money to buy it. Before foreign aid policies, most Indian people had home gardens to feed their families, but foreign policy made growing your own food more difficult. “The effect of foreign aid was to cause less food to be grown domestically. A food deficit began to loom, and as farmers refused to grow more, India became increasingly dependent on food aid imports” (132). These food aid imports being shipped in from different countries and sold in Indian markets were extremely expensive and more than the Indian people could afford. Though enough food is shipped in to make up the deficit from a lack of native crops, it’s so expensive that a lot of people can’t buy it and go hungry.
Although other countries such as the United States tried to offer assistance, many could argue that it ended up being more harmful. “The seeds brought to India from the U.S. were very difficult to grow and harmed the local environment by using up all the water and removing biodiversity” (134-135). Of course, aid only came from the U.S. during politically favorable times, and when India began to show political differences, the food aid was removed. Patel provides plenty of information to support his argument that famine is caused by distribution problems, not a lack of food.
Patel makes the argument that large corporations made decisions for what was best for the people of South Africa, based on profit. Specifically, he uses the Makhathini farmers as an example. Monsanto, a genetically modified (GM) crop dealer, took advantage of the desperation of the farmers. “The net effect of this, of course, is to offer farmers the following choice: choose GM seed, or don’t grow cotton at all. Since there are no other cash crops with a local market, farmers choose GM cotton” (pg. 164).
Unfortunately, they needed land to grow the GM cotton. “The Makhathini Cotton Company approached local community leaders to ask them to sell their land. Local headmen agreed on behalf of their ‘people’….except… not everyone wanted to move” (165). Besides farmers growing crops they didn’t want to grow, and planting on land that was given up unwillingly, Patel accuses the location of the “zone of engagement of GM crops” particularly in Africa as being a racially motivated decision. “Farmers in Makhathini aren’t being given the choices they really want. Just the ones that are most profitable to those who control the food system” (167). Patel exposes the Makhathini Cotton company and reveals how big money took advantage of farmers in the name of profit.
“In 2001 -2, the company offering the genetically modified seed was offering loans to anyone who promised to used it to buy genetically modified cotton seed people were queuing up at the gate swearing blind that they were cotton farmers and could they have a loan please? As one might expect, as we would have ourselves done if we were in a similar position the crop loan went to pay off existing debt, the cotton farmers disappeared and the cotton crop was significantly lower than the loan data would have led anyone to expect”
The genetically modified plant itself is not good to plant, because people shouldn’t touch it.
The government went overboard they need to stay there, the people need to be able to stand up for themselves, it seems as though they do not have any civil rights, because the cotton seeds do not grow well in Africa. It is not an economically viable crop in Africa. The farmers in Makhathini are desperate to grow something. Sugar cane has a local market, and food. The local Spar supermarket will not buy locally. The farmers are not given the choices they really want or need because of the corporations controlling the food systems.