Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Iraq'a food tragedy

They lied to the world, invaded the country, killed the people, destroyed the heritage, fueled sectarianism, fomented a civil war, stole the oil, created misery, then they forced free trade in, bankrupted the farming sector, and when there was no food left, they dumped food rejects at many times their real price. That's the neo-liberal economic package, the essential add-on to the US "military coercion". People of Lebanon, are you reading this?

A must read, thanks Rania

"Changes in Iraqi import laws introduced by former administrator L. Paul Bremer, dropped tariffs on import of foreign products, making it impossible for Iraqi farmers to compete. Countless Iraqi farms went bankrupt.

But now prices of imported goods have increased dramatically. And so most of the food in Iraqi markets today is imported, and more expensive due to skyrocketing fuel costs and lack of government regulation. Imported foods like chicken, fruits and vegetables now cost more than locally grown foods.

"Local agricultural production is almost nil," Majid al-Dulaymi from the Ministry of Agriculture told IPS. "The limited loans given by the ministry to farmers and planters are misused simply because it is not possible to maintain the agriculture production for reasons well known to everybody here. Now the private sector is importing everything, and the prices are too high to afford." "

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