Soils of War

Here’s another excellent report from Grain, about the agricultural ‘aid’ to Afghanistan. In Stuffed and Starved I wrote about how, after the Korean War, the US sent large quantities of wheat to Korea. Since wheat had never been part of the Korean diet, the US had to invest in ‘education’, so that a taste for everything from pasta to bread might be planted in the barren Korean palate. And successfully too. Consumption today is four times higher, per person, than it was in 1961. And much of that wheat is now purchased from the US.

Can we expect something to happen in Afghanistan? To borrow a campaign slogan: Yes we can. [via DM].

Here’s why:

Soya has never been grown in Afghanistan and it doesn’t form part of the country’s culinary tradition, but a new programme, supposedly devised to combat malnutrition, plans to change all that. USAID has funded Nutrition and Education International (NEI), set up by Nestlé, to teach Afghans to sow and eat soya beans. NEI is linked to the World Initiative for Soy in Human Health (WISHH), which was founded by the American Soybean Association (ASA) in 2000, to organise the distribution of free soya milk to pregnant women and infants throughout the developing world. WISHH works with the North American Millers’ Association (NAMA), whose members include global giants ADM, Bunge Milling and ConAgra. In Afghanistan NEI works with Stine Seed Company, Iowa, and Gateway Seed Company, Illinois, both of which supply it with genetically modified Roundup soya and Roundup-Ready herbicide to be sold on to the farmers. According to NEI, it distributed two tonnes of genetically modified soya seed in Afghanistan in 2005.

Read the full report here.