Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Blair blamed for farmers' deaths

The following is based on a press release from Christian Aid:

Policies, backed by Tony Blair's government, have led to a crisis in Indian agriculture, spiralling rural debt and an epidemic of suicide among poor farmers.

This is the verdict of the new Christian Aid Week report, 'The damage done: Aid, death and dogma'.

Research reveals that more than 4,000 farmers have killed themselves in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh since the ‘reforms’ of a hard-line liberalising regime. Blair's government helped bankroll the reforms.

Blair's government gave funding to the free market fundamentalist Adam Smith Institute to run a privatising scheme that cost some 45,000 Indian public sector workers their jobs.

The Christian Aid report shows that in Ghana democratic institutions have been subverted by the demands of doctrinaire free market policies, where the International Monetary Fund (IMF), backed by the World Bank, effectively overturned a law to protect poor farmers.

The report shows that in Jamaica, increasing numbers of women have been driven to prostitution and drug smuggling by a continuing round of liberalisation that has wrecked their employment opportunities.

The Christian Aid report on Andra Pradesh, 16 May 2005, revealed that the privatisation was implemented not by Britain's Department for International Development (DfID), but by the Adam Smith Institute, a right-wing think tank.

Millions of pounds of taxpayers' money was used to bankroll the Adam Smith Institute.

One example of how privatisation went wrong was the fate of the Andhra Pradesh State Seed Development Corporation (APSSDC), 'which was allowed to languish to make way for private operators to move in'.

The result 'was sub-standard seeds, higher prices, low productivity and farm debts'.

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