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GENETICALLY MODIFIED FOOD AID: CONTEXT AND CONSEQUENCES BY E VAN D. AXELRAD A Thesis Submitted to the division of Social Sciences New College of Florida i n partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree Bachelor of the Arts Under the sponsorship of Dr. Frank Alcock Sarasota, FL May, 2009
ii T able of Contents Acronyms Used ................................ ................................ ................................ ............................. iv Abstract ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ ........... v Introduction ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ .... 1 Chapter 1: Background on United States Food Aid ................................ ................................ ... 7 The Mechanisms of Food Aid ................................ ................................ ................................ .......... 7 What is food aid? Who donates and who receives it ................................ ................................ ........ 7 Three forms of food aid ................................ ................................ ................................ .................. 10 Categories of food aid sourcing ................................ ................................ ................................ ..... 14 The direct transfer vs. local purchase debate ................................ ................................ ................ 16 Understanding aid a llocation: donor interest vs. recipient need, a brief literature review .......... 20 The US Food Aid Program ................................ ................................ ................................ ............ 24 The three titles of PL 480 and Food for Progress ................................ ................................ ......... 24 How PL 480 reflects donor interest ................................ ................................ ............................... 28 ................................ ................................ ................................ .... 33 Conclusion, PL 480 today ................................ ................................ ................................ .............. 36 Chapter 2: Genetically Modified Food Aid ................................ ................................ ............... 40 Background on Biotech nology ................................ ................................ ................................ ...... 40 The development of the science ................................ ................................ ................................ ...... 40 The integration of agricultural biotechnology in the US ................................ ............................... 42 The EU US Trade Dispute over GMOs ................................ ................................ ...................... 45 The Implications of the Moratorium ................................ ................................ .............................. 47 rategic Interests behind GM Food Aid ................................ ................................ ....... 49 Increasing direct profit ................................ ................................ ................................ .................. 50 Overturning the EU moratorium ................................ ................................ ................................ ... 55 Precipitating a public relations makeover of the agricultural biotech industry ............................ 60 Encouraging the acceptance of GMOs in developing countries ................................ .................... 65 Conclusion ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ ..... 72 ................................ ................................ .... 74 Background ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ .... 75 The reasons behind the rejection ................................ ................................ ................................ .... 79 Public uncertainty and misinformation regarding the health risks of GMO consumption ............ 79 The threat which GMOs posed to small scale farming in Zambia ................................ ................ 83
iii ................................ ............................ 86 The lack of a national biosafety regulatory framework and the question of sovereignty .............. 90 Conclusion ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ ..... 94 Chapter 4: Policy Recommendations for US Food Aid ................................ ............................ 96 Comply with existing international biosafety agreements ................................ ............................. 96 ..... 98 End USDA jurisdiction over food aid programs and transition towards a mostly cash based system of local procurement ................................ ................................ ................................ ........ 100 Change the parameters of the debate over GMOs ................................ ................................ ....... 101 Works Cited ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ 104
iv A cronyms Used ASA American Soybeans Association BBC British Broadcast Corporation Bt Bacillus Thuringiensis CEO Corporate Executive Officer COMESA Common Ma rket for Eastern and Southern Africa DR CAFTA Dominican Republic and Central American Free Trade Agreement EU European Union FAO Food and Agriculture Organization (of the United Nations) FAS Foreign Agricultural Service (of the United States Depa rtment of Agriculture) FDA Food and Drug Administration FFP Food for Progress GAIN Global Agriculture Information Network GAO Government Accounting Office GDP Gross Domestic Product GM Genetically Modified GMO Genetically Modified Organism H IV/AIDS Human Immunodeficiency Virus/Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome HT Herbicide Tolerance IGO Intergovernmental Organization IMF International Monetary Fund IR Insect Resistance NBF National Biosafety Framework NGO Nongovernmental Organi zation NISIR Zambian National Institute for Scientific and Industrial Research ODA Official Development Assistance PL 480 Public Law 480, also known as Food for Peace PR Public Relations R&D Research and Development RABESA Regional Approach to Biotechnology Policy in Eastern and Southern Africa RIASCO Regional Inter Agency Support and Coordination Office UK United Kingdom UN United Nations US United States USAID United States Agency for International Development USDA United States De partment of Agriculture USSR Union of Soviet Socialist Republics WFP World Food Program WHO World Health Organization WISHH World Initiative for Soy for Human Health WTO World Trade Organization WWII World War Two ZNFU Zambian National Farmer s Union
v GENETICALLY MODIFIED FOOD AID: CONTEXT AND CONSEQUENCES Evan Axelrad New College of Florida, 2009 ABSTRACT organisms (GMOs) creates new and important implications for the national aid program self interested. The role of GMOs in affecting food aid policy has not been addressed by much of the existing literature, a serious shortcom ing when one considers that the practice of using GM crops as aid is already widespread; each year the US delivers an estimated 3.5 million tons of GM food aid worldwide. In this paper I provide background era of agricultural biotechnology. I outline the ways in which US aid agencies and the biotechnology industry have used food aid to advance their strategic interests. I n doing so, I posit that political debates over the application of GMOs and related tech nologies, as well as economic factors tied to the market for genetically modified crops, are particularly relevant to current debates on food aid. I conclude with several policy recommendations for US food aid in the era of agricultural biotechnology Dr. Frank Alcock Division of Social Sciences
1 I ntroduction In 2002, the US, in conjunction with the U nited N ation s W orld F ood P rogram (WFP) offered more than 100,000 tons of yellow maize valued at more than $6 million as food aid to offset widespread f ood shortages in seven drought afflicted southern African countries. Despite reports which indicated that the hunger situation in the area was critical, several countries in the region expressed hesitation in accepting the aid because it consisted of GMOs. After some dispute, the governments of Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe all conceded to accept the aid on the condition that it get milled before distribution, so as to prevent farmers from planting the seed and thus spreading GM crop varieties. One countr y however, Zambia, refused to accept any GM food aid until a team of Zambian scientists could study the potential impacts of GM maize. After visits to the US, Europe and South Africa (the most GMO receptive nation on the continent and the only African coun try at the time to have an established regulatory framework for GMOs), the Zambian panel concluded that the potential risks of distributing GM aid even milled outweighed the need for the food. As the crisis escalated, it elicited particularly emotion al and provocative statements from US and EU representatives and garnered immense worldwide publicity. A host of actors became involved, as advocates of the rejection mostly environmental NGOs, including Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth argued that th e southern African nations were unwittingly accepting a risky new technology. Further, advocates of the rejection argued that the aid recipients were n ot being offered a fair choice in the dire situation; indeed, some alleged that the scenario presented
2 food aid, or die 1 Opponents of the rejection meanwhile, expressed frustrated disbelief with the governments of the southern African nations, arguing that they were making misguided policy decisions over artificial and greatly overhyped risks and in the process condemning their citizens to starvation. Somewhat surprisingly, the a id agencies involved in the scen ario, USAID and the WFP, claimed they had failed to anticipate any challenge to the inclusion of GM food in aid shipmen ts; at the height of the crisis, the assistant [GM food aid] suddenly was going to emerge as such a heavy impediment to a timely (Robinson 2002) Indeed, many observers were surprised and shocked that something as seemingly uncontroversial as donating food to starving people could become so contentious. Of course, to those who follow developments in food aid policy, the scenario and its implicatio ns were far more complex. Much attention has been paid to the diverse and occasionally conflicting motivations of US aid policy in general and food aid policy in particular. For several decades, there has been vigorous debate regarding the modus operandi o f food aid; debate over its effectiveness, over its appropriateness (i.e. as opposed to other resources, such as cash), over its misuse, over its impact on recipient markets and agricultural development, over its use as a tool for domestic agricultural sur plus disposal, over its potential to change consumer attitudes and benefit donor agricultural interests, and over its use for achieving donor foreign policy objectives. 1 the absence of a real alternative. It is named after Thomas Hobson who ran a livery stable in Cambridge, England, in the seventeenth customer s had only one real choice: to rent the horse nearest the stable door
3 The se debates are important, and as will be discussed subsequently, they have had notab le impact on the way in which food aid is delivered and received. And yet the role of GMOs in affecting food aid policy has scarcely been addressed by humanitarian programs or by much of the existing food aid literature since the media frenzy of the 2002 rejection. Where focus has been given to the issue, it has largely mirrored the polemic rhetoric of the larger debate over GMOs and of the 2002 southern African aid scenario. Much of the literature has mistakenly viewed the 2002 southern African aid reject ion as an isolated case, though the issue arose again in 2003 when India discontinued one of the oldest and most established US food aid initiatives due to the GM content of the food delivered, and again on the African continent in 2004 after Sudan and Ang ola imposed restrictions on GM food. Further, though millions of tons of GM food aid commodities are donated yearly (WFP INTERFAIS 2008 ) there is currently no effective bureaucratic structure to specifically govern or monitor the flow of GM aid, and it is thus likely that cases such as these will continue to arise. Undoubtedly, the absence of a balanced and rigorous literature which explores the context and effects of GM food aid is problematic. The relative dearth of literature on GM food aid is perhaps most fundamentally problematic in light of the largest producer of GMOs globally, responsible for over 60% of the global acreage of planted GMO varieties ( Clapp 2005 ) The US is also the greatest advocate of biotechnology, not just in trade or for domestic consumption, but increasingly for its (USAID 2003 )
4 Incontrovertibly, the US is deeply invested in biotechnology, not just economically, but politically. I posit that there are important and distinct trends in t he US food aid program sts in promoting biotechnology in the developing world. The US is the only donor making major use of concessional sales (rather than grants) for food aid, it is the only food aid donor to distribute a large proportion of its food aid bilaterally, and it is one of the only food aid donors which still requires virtually all food aid contributions to be in the form of domestically grown commodities. Is the fact that the US is the primary grower and developer of GM crops a factor in these decisions, despite a g rowing body of research which advocates the adoption of other policies (i.e. local procurement or cash transfers)? Is the GMO lobby a new facet to be considered in the so called iron triangle policy network ( US agribusiness, the shipping industry, and a handful of humanitarian non governmental organizations [NGOs]) which profits from the modus operandi of food aid? Consequentially, what impact do these new donor interests h ave on the recipients of the US aid program? In order to understand the role of GM food as aid, some familiarity with the fundamentals of food aid in general and of the US food aid program in particular is necessary, and Chapter 1 provides such an overview with only a limited discussion of GM food specifically. The chapter seeks to clar ify the go als and mechanisms of US food aid, and also introduces what is perhaps the most current and central policy debate in t he global food aid regime ; the direct transfer ( in kind ) vs. local purchase ( cash ) debate Chapter 2 delves into the core questi on of the thesis and explores the hypothesis that the
5 biotechnology in the developing world factor into its consistent rejection of alternatives to in kind aid. The chapter present agricultural aims which are realized in the practice of using GM food as aid. Chapter 2 also examines the domestic constituency for food aid and identifies the GMO/biotech nology shaping trends in food aid policy. I assert that in light of the increasingly negative public opinion surrounding GMOs, the agricultural biotech lobby saw a strategic advantage in attaching itself to a popular humanitarian program like food aid. Chapter 3 explores the Zambian case of GM food aid delivery and rejection The chapter draws heavily on a 2008 research trip to the country. Co mprehensively exploring the background and policy environments of this case and exploring the varying reactions of governm ents, media and aid agencies illustrates some of the factors which make GM food aid particularly problematic. The final chapter, Chapter 4, draws on all previous chapters in making policy recommendations for food aid in the era of GMOs. Amongst other prop osals, the chapter stresses the need for national biosafety frameworks in order to facilitate the sustainable integration of biotechnology in the developing world. decades exe mplified, many would assert, by the move from concessional sales to emergency deliveries continuing focus on the expansion of American policy objectives. Though they are inherently relevant and thus intermittently addressed throughout the thesis many of the specific concerns from the larger debate over GMOs (e.g. alleged risks upon
6 human health and the environment, ethical issues) are not the primary concern of this discussion. In a s ense, the very fact that GMOs are controversial is issue enough. Ultimately, given the potentially divisive nature of biotechnology and GMOs, it is crucial understand what these motivations indicate about the US food aid program, and to
7 Chapter 1: Background on United States Food Aid The Mechanisms of Food Aid What is food a id? Who donates and who receives it In o rder to appreciate m any of the debates regarding food aid and clarify some key misunderstandings it is important to begin with a basic definition. Due to its name and much of its popular imagery, many do not realize that food aid actually comprises a more diverse set of initiatives than simply the direct delivery of food to hungry people. For example, a s will be discuss ed later much food aid g ets turned into cash by NGOs and governments in order to fund a wide range of development projects and is therefo re not distributed as actual food Likewise, food aid can take the form of cash donations for the purchase of food from regions of the recipient country experiencing a n agricultural su rplus; this purchased food is then distribute d within the country as aid to food insecure areas Thus, it becomes clear that the defining features of food aid relate neither to the form of transfer nor to the identity of final recipients ( who may or may not need additional food beyond that they can produce or procure on their own ) Rather, th ere ar e three core characteristics which distinguish food aid from other forms of assistance: 1) I nternational sourcing 2) C oncessional resources 3) In the form of or for the provision of food. ( Barrett and Maxwell 2004) Though this set of characte ristics does broaden the general perception of food aid, if there is no cross border flow of food or cash for the purchase of food and without there being a significant grant element, the flow is simply not food aid.
8 Though its definition may have chang ed over time, the sources of food aid donation have been remarkably constant. With regards to food aid, the US has been the most prolific and arguably, most important donor. With the post WWII Marshall Plan, the US essentially began the era of modern food aid, acting bilaterally in accord with recipient governments to meet the food security needs of developing countries or areas in crisis. In 1954 the US s food aid programs were formalized under Food for Peace (henceforth PL 480) the first and largest inter national food aid program in history As a result of its prolific donations and, consequently, its impact on global trends in food aid, most empirical studies on the topic have focused on the US as a donor; this paper follows the trend. The history, mechan isms and debates regarding the US food aid program will be discussed in depth later in the chapter. Even as food aid moved from a bilateral approach towards a multilateral system (i.e. whereby several donors contribute to a larger institution) in the 1960s the US would maintain its dominance and influence in the field. The WFP embodie s the approach of multilateral food aid, responsible for more than 90% of global multilateral food aid a nd a majority of all food aid worldwide (WFP INTERFAIS 2008 ). Despite t he importance of the WFP as an institution, the US s In 2007 the US donated 44% of all WFP food resources, far surpassing contributions. This was in fact a historically low contribution, d ue largely to the rising prices of agricultural commodities precipitated by the world food crisis 2 (WFP INTERFAIS 2008) 2 In 2007, a complex host of factors caused agricultural commodity pri ces to increase substantially worldwide; o n average, the price of rice increased 75 % and prices for some wheat products doubled.
9 Similarly the collection of countries receiving food aid has changed little in the Countries in s ub Saharan Africa have been by far the largest recipients of food aid, receiving more than 60% of the volume of food aid during the last 15 years ( Barrett and Maxwell 2004 ) Between 1970 and the present most of t he newly independent nations of sub Saharan Africa grappled with a host of political and civil crises and suffered production drops, environmental crises, economic stagnations and other harbingers of food in security. While there has been slight fluctuation in food aid flows to the continent due to changing domestic policy environments and aid and agricultural policies a s of 20 08 sub Saharan Africa receives the largest share of food aid flows globally (WFP INTERFAIS 2008 ). In general f observers do not fully appreciate: f ood aid represents only a minute share of overall O fficial D evelopment A ssistance (ODA) Though the program constituted a larger share of global aid flows in its early history, currently, food aid only re presents an estimated 2% of tota l aid flows ( Barrett and Maxwell 2004 ). Additionally, it comprise s only a tiny propo rtion of world food production ( about 0.015 % ), and is inadequate to solve total persistent food shortfalls 3 (Barrett and Maxwell 2004 ) What then, is the purpose and role of food aid? Simply put, its hum anitarian objective is to make a difference at the margin by relieving shortfalls in food availability that directly cause widespread, often severe hunger and malnutrition. Food insecurity is a complex and contextually div erse Increased commodity prices coupled with relatively inflexible budgets for food aid resulted in an approximately 40% drop in foo d aid availability. 3 The IMF calculates that food aid provides only 7 kg of every metric ton of food shortfall in developing countries
10 phenomenon and it would be nave to assume that only one resource can solve the multitude of problems therein. However, f or those dedicated to addressing acute hunger, food aid has been a critical and fundamental tool, with millions of tons of agricul tural commodities donated each year to aid those at the margin. This marginal nature of food aid is clearly seen in a recent Food Security Assessment conducted by The as s essment showed that while on average f ood aid provided less than 4% of food consumption in recipient countries in the last decade, this percent age varied greatly by country and tended to be quite significant during emergencies. For example, d 93 civil war, food aid contri bu ted to about 70 % of per capita food consumption ; w hen Mozambique was faced with prolonged economic and political difficulties ( in the early 1980s through early 1990s), it often relied on food aid to supplement more than a third of its per capita food consu mption ; i n Rwanda during 1997 99, food aid contributed to more t han a third of food consumption (USDA Economic Research Service Website Accessed 1/24/2009) Three forms of food aid While food aid tends to comprise a larger share of total food consumptio n during emergency scenarios, such scenarios do not represent the full extent of food aid s usefulne ss in combating food insecurity. F ood aid has historically been utilized in situations other than emergencies. Indeed, until relatively recently, food aid a llocated in emergency situations represented less than half of all food aid flows (Barrett and Maxwell 2004 ). T here are essentially three categories of food aid, based on the different
11 ways in which the aid is meant to contribute to food security ; t hese th ree categories are program, project and emergency food aid. Although the line between these three categories is not always clear, program, project and emergency food aid are distinguished by the different purposes they serve: respectively, these purposes a re budgetary support, support for development and nutrition programs, and emergency feeding. Program food aid involves the transfer of food from one government to another as a form of economic support. Almost all program food aid is sold on concessional t erms (i.e. at an effective discount relative to the open market cost). P rogram food aid is typically re sold i n local markets by the recipient government for cash profit Thus, this form of food aid can essentially be understood as ODA foreign aid, differe nt only in that it is provided in the form of food. As with more conventional forms of development assistance, donors often impose policy conditionalities upon the allocation of program food aid. Such conditionalities ca n take a w ide variety of forms, from negotiat ions on military and diplomatic matters, to specific stipulations regarding the use of the proceeds ( Ball and Johnson 1996 ) Controversially, and to be discussed in detail vis vis the US food aid program PL 480, p rogram food aid was clearly designed with the aim of s urplus commodity disposal. I deally, program food aid was intended to benefit both recipient countries ( by providing agricultural commodities at concessional prices ) as well as dono r countries who could not find a commercial market f or their agricultural surpluses Partially b ecause of this inherent link to surplus stocks, which tend to vary substantially from year to year, program food aid flows are often irregular and volatile (Bar rett and Maxwell 2004 ) While program aid was the primary form of food aid i n the 1960s, it has been declining
12 as a proportion of total food aid in part because of the decline in the practice of donor surplus stockpiling, and partially because of opposit ion which it has faced as a thinly veiled donor agricultural subsidy and means of export dumping (to be discussed shortly) I n 2000, program food aid dropped to 26 % of total food aid flows, and since 2004 it has represented less than 15 % ( WFP INTERFAIS 2 008 ) Project food aid meanwhile, is provided on a grant basis for hunger related development and nutrition programs. Examples of typical p roject food aid initiatives include food for work programs, school feeding initiatives, or supplemental feeding cen ters for mothers and young children Unlike program food aid (which as mentioned, was designed as supplemental support for the finances of recipient governments), project food aid was originally focused on direct distribution to people living with hunger. Project food aid can be provided directly to a recipient government, or to multilateral development agencies (e.g. WFP) or NGOs operating in the recipient country for use in development projects. Since 1990, an increasing share of project food aid has been sold in order to generate funds for development projects in a process called monetizatio n. In part because procuring, shipping and distributing food aid is complex and costly, US legislation in the mid 1980s introduced the practice of monetization, involv ing the sale of domestically grown (i.e. donor grown) food in recipi ent countries to generate cash used to support the costs associated with providing food aid. Monetization is mainly practiced by large US funded NGOs (including CARE, World Vision, and Cat holic Relief Services) for this purpose, or to generate funds for their broader development work. Overall monetization of project food aid increased fro m about 10 % in the late 1980s to over 30% in less than two decades (Murphy and McAfee 2005) Again, it i s mostly
13 NGOs which represent this practice, having monetized 68% of all their project food aid in 2006. The FAO and many others have urged that organizations should stop monetizing food aid as it risks distorting local markets and production, and some NGO s have set goals to phase out this procedure 4 Other NGOs however, have defended monetization of food aid as a critical source of funds for their work, and the pr actice seems likely to continue proliferation has made it increasingly difficu lt to different iate project aid (monetized by NGOs) from program food aid (moneti zed by government recipients). T hus, these two categories are occasionally grouped together and referred to as non emergency food aid. As with program food aid, project aid ha s diminished though far less substantially since its peak in the 1970s, and it currently represents approximately 24% of total food aid flows (WFP INTERFAIS 2008) The final form of food aid, e mergency food aid is one of the most visible forms of huma nitarian assistance and is closest to the common perception of food aid. Emergency food aid is intended for direct, grant (i.e. free) distribution to people facing famine or an acute food shortage as a result of natural or human made disasters. The general purpose of emergency food aid is to provide short term relief to persons who are not able to meet their food requirements due to acute shocks or emergencies. Since 1996, emergency food aid shipments have exceeded program and project food aid donations ; th e rise of emergency aid has been heralded by many as a sign that food aid is departing from some of its original, non humanitarian goals (including agricultural surplus disposal, as discussed with program aid) Emergency aid accounted for an unprecedented 4 In the summer of 2007, CARE announced that it would turn down $45 million a year of US food aid, arguing that monetiz distorting local agricultural markets.
14 67 % of food aid in 2003, boosted by donor response to food shortfalls in southern Africa though it has since dropped somewhat and currently represents approximately 62% of total food aid allocations (WFP INTERFAIS 2008 ) C ategories of f ood aid sourcing In understanding food aid, it is important to understand another of its categorization schemes: the mode of sourc ing There are again three primary ways in which this happens : d irect transfers triangular transactions, and local purchase. Direct transfer s are food aid donations that originate in the donor country. This mode of supply account s for the vast majority of all food aid largely because they are favored (or rather, mandated) by US food aid policy ; in 200 7 direct transfers comprised approximately 99 % of food aid provided by the US and 58 % of all global food aid deliveries ( still significantly less tha n in recent years; as recently as 2005 direct transfers accounted for a lmost 70% of all food aid flows) (Murphy and McAfee 2005 ). All direct food ai d transfers are a form of tied aid in the sense that they are limited by definition to food sourced in the donor country. In addition, much of directly transferred food aid is tied to additional requirements, such as the use of donor country co ntractors and shipping companies In particular, the US requires that at least 75 % of the procurement, processing bagging a nd shipping be handled in the US by US firms (though the reality is often significantly higher) The practice of tying aid will be discussed in detail in the subsequent discussion of the US food aid program The next form of food aid sourcing, t riangular purchases describe s food aid
15 Triangular purchases are us ually financed by a cash contribution from the donor for the initial purchase of food. by supporting economic dev elopment in one country (i.e. through the purchase of their agricultural commodities) and addressing humanitarian crises in others (i.e. through the delivery of food aid). The model for triangular transactions was first employed in the 1981 donors and led b y the WFP, distributed Zimbabwean maize to 18 African countries food needs (Barrett and Maxwell 2004). Triangular transactions accounted for approximately 24% of all food aid in 2007 (up from approximately 16% in 2005) (WFP INTERFAIS 2008 ). Of these triangular purchases, the vast majority, 73 %, was purchased in developing countries. In contrast to global aid flows, t riangular transactions account for l ess than 8 % of total US food aid (however, because the U S is such a large donor and triangular purchases represent a relatively small share of global food aid the US provides almost 26 % of the globa l total of triangular purchases [Murphy and McAfee 2005 ]) Finally, l ocal pu rchases refer to the practice of using donor provided cash to buy food from areas and markets in the recipient country which are not experiencing food shortages Inherently, local purchasing is only a viable option when markets in the nearby area are funct ioning well and there is sufficient food available to fill the gap where needed About 18% of WFP food aid was locally purchased in 2007, up from 15% in 2005 and 9 % in 2003; the WFP has been explicit in its desire to increase its loc al purchasing capabi lities (WFP INTERFAIS 2008 ). Like triangular deliveries, local
16 purchases theoretically simultaneously fulfill development goals and emergency needs by supporting local infrastructure. As the movement for local purchasing has gained momentum however, it ha s become controversial, bringing to the fore several other important and contentious issues relevant to the current food aid system. Currently, the debate between advocates of a direct transfer system and advocates for increasing the share of local food ai d purchases stands as one of the most heated and central conflicts in food aid The direct transfer vs. local purchase debate Where food for food aid is obtained is obviously important to the immediate efficacy of food aid and to its longer terms effects on food security. Because every aid situation is distinct, direct international aid transfers and not always the most effective or efficient means of addressing a food security crisis. Thus, i n order to allow for greater flexibility in aid procurement, mos t major food aid donors including the EU, Australia, and Canada have reduced their in kind food aid donations over the last decade and implemented at least some cash based food assistance as part of their food aid programs. Canada, for example, changed its policy in 2005 to allow up to 50% of its food aid to be in the form of cash, used to purchase agricultural commodities from recipient cou ntries T he US however stipulates in PL 480 that all aid must be in the form of domestically purchased a gricultur al commodities, processed in the US and shipped on US flagged ships. The difference between these modes of aid procurement ( i.e. form of transfer, be it direct transfer or local purchase) is thus essentially between cash and in kind donations
17 Many advocat es of food aid reform assert that transitioning to cash purchases from local sources would have widespread and significant positive effects. Firstly and most importantly there is the matter of efficiency. Intercontinental shipments are slow. On average, i t takes more than five months for US emergency shipments to reach their destination (Barrett and Maxwell 2004); a delay which advocates of local purchase assert is unacceptable in a humanitarian emergency By obtaining food from the recipient countries, cl oser to ultimate distribution points, this delay is minimized and delivery is arguably more effective. Secondly, domestically produced food aid is undeniably less cost effective than local purchase alternatives Food aid that is purchased in the recipient country usually costs half or even a third as much as domestically purchased food, and typically costs substantially less than food purchased in a third party developing country (i.e. triangulation) Agricultural commodities are simply less expensive in t he developing countries which typically receive food aid than in the industrialized countries which typically donate food aid. The cost e ffectiveness of local purchase wa s eviden ced in to reported food shortfalls in certain regions, USAID sp ent $447 per ton delivering US grown maize to the Uganda. Overall however, the country was experiencing a surplus agricultural year, and thus, had USAID allowed for local purchasing, they could have procured comparable maize locally for less than half that amount, at $180 per ton (Haggblade and Tschirley 2007) Another key reason why local purchasing is likely to be more cost effective than direct transfer alternatives is because it inherently e limina tes much of the overhead costs incurred from shipping According to a GAO report from 2006, in recent years, upwards
18 of 60% of the US food aid budget roughly $2 billion annually has been spent on transport atio n and administration costs (GAO 2006 ). With th e extreme volatility of world fuel prices, the cost of intercontinental food aid shipments has climbed by about $50 per ton since 2007 a total of nearly 30 % (Haggblade and Tschirley 2007 ). The potential savings from eliminating shipping and overhead costs are significant: it has been estimate d that if one fourth of current PL 480 food aid were procured locally, the cost savings would enable the purchase of additional food commodities sufficient to reach an additional 50,000 people per year (Haggblade and Ts chirley 2007) Another of the key arguments for the local purchase of food aid is that it holds the potential to bolster the agricultural sector and promote economic development in impoverished regions, thus improving long term food security. Advocates of the local purchase approach argue that f ood aid should support larger efforts to raise domestic food production; by supporting local gr owers, food aid can not only provide relief in acute emergency situations, but can also establish more fruitful agricult ural production in the long term. Additionally, proponents of cash based local purchasing argue that in kind food aid limits food choices for those facing food shortages. B y obtaining food from local markets, it is theoretically more likely that food aid w ill meet the preferences and cultural circumstances of its recipients. This facet of the debate has obvious relevance to the issue of GM food aid, and it will be discussed in depth in the Zambian aid rejection case study While an increasing number of aid policy analysts agree that local purchases or triangular purchases from nearby countries are generally preferable to food direct transfers l ocal purchases are not always the most appropriate use of food aid resources.
19 Though advocates of local purchasing cite its potential to strengthen recipient markets, some studies have shown that purchasing food locally can actually have a negative impact (Maas 2003 ). These studies cite recent examples where purchasing large quantities of food locally has drive n up pri ces thus mak ing it difficult for those who do not receive aid to meet their food purchasing needs. Critics of local purchasing have pointed to other c onstraints such as inadequate storage facilities or unreliable transportation networks and argued tha t a shift could compromise the consistency and efficacy of food aid deliveries. Undeniably, before deciding to buy food locally, it is important to assess if enough food is available in the market, and whether local purchasing is the best and most effectiv e possible option for food aid delivery. T he Bush administration as part of their plan to reform food aid, repeatedly proposed including sti pulations for local purchase in PL 480. the allocation up to 25% of budge t approximately $300 million for local purchases of food aid fro m recipient countries. Congress however, consistently rejected the proposal ; Bob Goodlatte, a Virginia Republican who heads the House Agriculture Committee, said woul d break a coalition that has resulted in one of the most successful foo d aid programs in world history (Dugger 2005 ). This brings up another key issue cited by critics of cash based local purchase: curbing the use of in kind aid carries the hazard of dise and consequently, jeopardizing its viability As is evident from interest groups who benefit from US food aid play an important role in the continuity of the program, forming a powerful community f or ensuring t he appropriation of food aid in the government budget C ash aid unlike in kind, do es not have such a natural
20 constituency ensuring its survival. Because f oreign aid budgets are often seen as superfluous by donor governments and are often the first items to be slimmed in times of survival. in food aid policy, preventing rational or p ositive reforms as well. The evolution and mechanisms of this d omestic constituency as well as their impact upon US food aid policy, will receive a renewed and thorough discussion throughout this thesis; crucial to a full understanding of the practice of using GM food as aid Understanding aid allocation: d onor interest vs. recipient need a brief literature review Before we finally turn our focus from food aid in general to the US food aid program in p articular it is important to become familiar with the interpretive lenses used to a nalyze aid allocation Essentially, t he literature on foreign aid and ODA can be divided into two schools ; those studies which explore the effects of foreign aid (i.e. on r ecipient countries ) and those which investigate the determinants of foreign aid In the wake of McKinlay and Little (McKinlay and Little 1979 ) the relative balance between these schools tipped toward the latter, and the 1980s and 1990s witnessed an energ etic debate on the nature of aid, and close study of the determinants responsible for driving and shaping aid policies. This analysis has largely been characterized as a debate between t he t work: the donor interest model and the recipient need model. These models attempt to explain decisions on aid policy in two fundamentally different ways; i n the recipient need model, the
21 amount of aid given to a country is directly proportional to its need for it (i.e. its poverty), whereas in the donor interest model the amount of aid given to a country is directly proportional to its political and/or economic usefulness to the donor For a variety of reasons, aid is generally considered an effective instrument of foreign policy. Where there is a high demand for aid which is often the case in developing countries the donor can exact conditions from the recipient in return for the aid. This bargaining advantage typically persists after the initial a id relationship has been established because the donor can terminate aid with minimal costs, while the recipient can quickly become dependent upon the aid. When aid is supplied, the donor is often given the right to intervene in the domestic affairs of the recipient. The aid relationship, therefore, is believed to establish a situation of unreciprocated reliance by the recipient on the donor. The donor interest model is premised on the assumption that the donor takes advantage of the foreign policy implicat ions of aid and uses aid allocation to pursue its own interests. The distribution of aid, therefore, reflect s the extent to which the reci pients further the interests of the donor. In their work, McKinlay and Little calculated recipient need using a numbe r of variables which m easure levels of economic performance and welfare including gross domestic product (GDP) per capita, and per capita calorie consumption. Measurement of donor interest meanwhile was considered to fall within five main categories: econ omic, security, power political development and performance, and political stab ility and governance interests (McKinlay and Little 1979 ). Their analysis led the authors to conclude that per capita aid from the US did not conform to the recipient need mo del, and that levels of per capita aid were positively correlated to donor interests, and most
22 specifically to economic, security and power political interests. In the wake of Maizels and Nissanke (1984) extended th e recip ient need/ donor interest model in a comparative assessment of bilateral and multilateral aid donors. The authors found a significant difference in the balance between recipient need and donor interest between the two categories of donor, observing that aid from whereas bilateral aid tended to be more directly related to the interest s of the donor (particularly determined by the political, security, or commercial interests) This finding is important in critically assessing the US food aid program, which despite significant contributions to the multilateral WFP, stands in contrast to most other donors in its high percentage of bilateral food aid allocations. T here has been li ttle policy specifically, as opposed to general ODA. This may be due to the nature of this particular form of aid, which again, is likely to be seen by the general public as more humanitarian in nature and more oriented towards recipient need particularly regarding emergency food aid deliveries. Television pictures of donors handing out food aid to undernourished men, women and children in developing countries dominate the public perception There has however, been some notable research which attempts through various means to demonstrate the preeminence of one or another set of objectives in food aid programs. Some studies have focused on the supply of US food aid commodities made available to poli cy makers as an indication of the domestic determinants of the aid program (Barrett 1998; Diven 2001). Other analysts have examined the distribution of food aid commodities among recipient countries over various periods as a way of
23 demonstrating that food aid is based either on donor interests or on humanitarian considerations. The general finding of these studies is that the US food aid program is un likely to reflect recipient need (Neumayer 2005). it is important to note that within each category (donor interest, recipient need) there are of course many factors that determine how a id is allocated even outside of those identified in the study It should be noted that McKinlay and Little have received some critique for the variables selected in testing their models The diverse set of factors which constitute donor interests in particular can be especially subjective, and there has thus been substantial and occasionally tautological variation between s tudies in the body of literature Some normalize diplomatic relations with a recipient country (Ball and Johnson 1996 ), while others have emphasized donor economic interest s such as the aim of establishing trade relationships ( Dollar and Levin 2004 ). Consequently, t here is virtually no solid evidence on the relative i mportance of different facets of donor interest Diven (2006) however, in her analysis of the US food aid pro gram, compellingly asserts that competing models of food aid determination (and competing facets within each model) are not a flaw in the literature (i.e. an inaccurate representation of aid determination). Rather, she argues that the indeterminate nature of food aid accurately mirrors a complex policy subsystem which connects a broad and diverse range of groups and actors both politically and economically oriented. Diven asserts that although the varied interests do not necessarily agree on the goals of the food aid program, they cooperate in order to maintain the program for the sake of their mutual interes t (Diven 2006 ). She draws on the theory of
24 hyperpluralism 5 and concludes that, regardless of which interest holds preeminence in shaping food aid poli cy, in attempting to respond to a myriad of competing demands and countervailing pressures, the US food aid program ultimately undermines its logical consistency Understanding the role which donor interests have historically played in shaping food aid pol icy is clearly critical toward a full understanding of their current influence. Having touched briefly on some of the foundations of the aid determinant literature, we can now turn our focus to the main area of concern in this thesis, the US food aid prog ram, PL 480. T he US Food Aid P rogram The three titles of PL 480 and Food for Progress Signed into law in 1954 by President Eisenhower as the Agricultural Trade Development Assistance Act PL 480 ( k nown formally as Food for Peace since 1961 ) has dominated the arena of global food aid since its inception ; c urrently, under PL 480, the US supplies more than four million tons of food per year (USAID 2008 ) The p olicy s agricultural resources and food processing cap abilities to enhance food security in the developing world Aid provided by PL 480 can be divided in three authorities or titles each with a different objective and mandate 5 Hyperpluralist theory too many groups are getting to resulting in a government pol icy that is often contradictory, static, and lacking in direction. According to Diven Hyperpluralism creates a policy environment in which it is increasingly difficult to address questions of common purpose, and it nearly group literature, agricultural policy is frequently cited as particularly susceptible to the formation and long term maintenance of subgovernments agriculture as an example of agency capture, in which there is a blurred distinction between private sector demands and USDA policy.
25 (these objectives mirror the three general forms of food aid introduced earlier; program, project, and emergency) Title I of P L 480 is administered by USDA while Titles II and III are administered by USAID In order to understand how PL 480 reflects donor interest a brief background on each title is necessary. Title I formally Trade and Development Assistance This title p rovides for the sale of agricultural commodities to developing countries and private entities under long term credit arrangements. Repayments for agricultural commodities sold under this title can be made either in US dollars or in local currencies on credit terms of up to 30 years Title I is an export credit guarantee program such programs are used to encourage, increase, and maintain US exports in countries where credit is used, and where such e xports would not be feasib le without a guarantee. Title I ultimately uses long term credit agreements to facilitate government to government purchases of agricultural commodities by developing countries with the potential to become commercial markets. Beca use of its distinct ties to US agricultural interests, it is the only title of PL 480 managed by the Department of Agriculture (as opposed to USAID ). Title II E mergency & Development Assistance This title provides for the donatio n of US agricultural commodities by USAID to promote food security and economic development mostly through emergency deliveries, though occasionally through non emergency activities. Emergency activities aim to get food to populations afflicted by natural disasters and complex emergencies (e.g. arising from prolonged civil strife). Regarding non emergency activities, Title II aid also has the potential to be utilized within a transitional context as longer term food security activities build on intervention s begun during a relief response. Such longer term activities target
26 chronically food insecure populations and often include long term safety nets and interventions to enhance agricultural livelihood capabilitie s. A safety net is a system of providing re source transfers to low income and other vulnerable individuals and populations who are unable to meet basic needs for survival (i ndividuals may be unable to meet these needs due to an external shock, such as a natural disaster or war, or due to socioecono mic circumstances, such as age, illness or discrimination ) There are three basic kinds of safety nets relevant in the Title II programming context: unconditional, conditional and productive. Unconditional safety nets provide resource transfers based sol ely on criteria of need (i.e. in response to an acute food shortage) Conditional safety nets provide a resource transfer contingent on certain behaviors, such as sending children to school or bringing them to heal th centers on a regular basis; c onditional safety nets seek to address both short term protection objectives while promoting the longer term accumulation of human capital for development. Lastly, p roductive safety nets provide a resource transfe r in order to meet basic needs and thus prevent house holds from selling off productive assets such a s animals, tools and equipment. Title II assistance may be provided via government to government agreements, cooperatives, NGOs as well as intergovernmental organizations, such as the WFP Title III mandate is Food for Development PL 480 was amended to include t Development Assistance Act. Title III provides for the donation of agricultural com modities to foreign governments on a conditional basis. Proceeds from the sale of these commodities within the host country are intended to support long term economic development and food security, primarily through debt forgiveness measures The Title
27 III program is similar to the Title I program in its workings; it provides US agricultural commodities on concessional terms, which in turn are resold domestically. The proceeds of the domestic sale are then used to fund projects in rural development, specifically in the areas of health and nu trition. Title III agreements may specify policy reforms (known as self help measures) designed to increase agricultural production, improve infrastructure and reduce population growth (USAID 2008 ). If the recipient implements mutually agreed upon (i.e. be tween USAID and the recipient government) projects and reforms, it then receives forgiveness on debts incurred under any present or previous PL 480 agreements Another US food aid initiative which must be noted is the Food for Progress program (FFP). C reat ed through the Food for Progress Act of 1985, the program is separate from PL 480, yet mirrors certain aspects of the distinct titles. Like Title I, FFP is oreign A griculture S ervice (rather than USAID), and engages in the concessio nal sale of surplus agricultural commodities to developing countries in non emergency situations. H arken ing back to the motivations behind Title III of PL 480 FFP involves an interesting mix of diplomacy and aid; its stated objective is to assist countri es that have made commitments to introduce or expand free enterprise in their agricultural economies (FAS, Accessed 1/24/2009) .Though it is characterized as project food aid (which is generally declining), the use of FFP has steadily increased since the m id nineties. Throughout the 1990s, FFP was allocated less than $85 million of federal omnibus appropriations act (P.L. 108 7, H.J.Res. 2) which required USDA to provide a mi nimum of 400,000 tons of commodities under the FFP program annually. For FY
28 2009, FFP was allocated $212 million in funding (FAS, Accessed 1/24/2009). FFP has interesting implications for the relationship between food aid and the biotech industry particula discussed in depth in the next chapter. How PL 480 reflects donor interest The US has always been very open about the multiple objectives assigned to its food assistance under PL 480 listed as follows by USAID: Combat world hunger and malnutrition and their causes Promote broad based, equitable and sustainable development, including agricultural development Expand international trade Develop and expand export markets for US agric ultural commodities Foster and encourage the development of private enterprise and democratic participation in developing countries (USAID 2008 ) Proponents of PL 480 frequently assert that the policy creates a win win scenario which not only benefits r ecipients, but also furthers the trade and agricultural as well as political and strategic interests of the US. In deed, in signing the legislation, President Eisenhower addressed its multiple goals, stating that the legislation was intended to lay the bas is for a permanent expansion of our exports of agricultural products with lasting benefits to ourselves and peoples of other lands (quoted in Mousseau 2005 ). In terms of advancing US diplomatic and political interests, PL 480 has indeed played a notable role. As briefly described above, Title III aid directly links the donation of aid to certain reforms which demonstrate a commitment to policies that promote food security (USAID 2008) Title III is a distinct development progra m representing a
29 hybrid o f Title I food aid and macro policy reforms associated with the IMF and the World Bank ; T itle III was essentially premised on the same design as structural adjus tment policies from the Bretton Woods institutions C onsequentially, policies that promote foo d security usually involve d various US economic style reforms including market liberalization and decentralization of s tate held sectors (Barrett and Maxwell 2004 ) This conditionality is additionally significant in light of the political conditions of t he era when PL 480 was conceived. During the cold war, along with the process of decolonization and the formation of newly independent nations, the continent of Africa was often viewed as a strategic chessboard in which the United States and communist po On the subject of the Cold War, Congressman Brooks Hays argued that with proper use these surpluses can be made a far more potential means of combating the spread of communism than the hydrogen bomb (Zer be 2004 ). political interest in communism however; indeed, with the fall of the USSR food aid was given in disproportionately large amounts to former soviet East European and Central Asian countrie s for political reasons and to signal political goodwill (rather than in order to address actual food scarcity) ; in 1993, the Soviet Bloc countries received more than half of US food aid (Barrett and Maxwell 200 4 ). model, food aid particularly under Title III h as been used as a leverage strategy (i.e. given to reward states pursuing policies favorable to the donor, or denied to punish states pursuing policies detrimental to the donor )
30 Even more so than political interests, food aid policy under PL 480 has been definitively shaped by domestic agricultural sector interests. Again, in order to appreciate this role, it is important to understand the historical context in which PL 480 originated In the years leading up to and immediately following WWII, t he US invested considerably building infrastructure and spreading th e use of new farming technologies and techniques. At the same time, t he mechanization of agriculture and transportation in general released land that had been used to grow feed for draft animals ( as much as one third of arable land had been used f or that purpose until mid century ) (Murphy and McAfee 2005 ) Perhaps most notable about American agriculture in the post War era however, w ere the prolific agricultural subsidies delivered by the government t o farmers and agribusinesses intended to allow the government to manage the cost and supply of agricultural commodities. So as to avoid delving too deeply into a the modern industrial agriculture complex it will suffice to say that this combination of factors was l argely responsible for significant domestic unsold production (i.e. surpluses) in the 1950s These surpluses produced unwanted effects most notably depressed market prices for agricultural commodities and were also costly to store To many, f ood aid se emed a n effective way to empty government surplus silos T his attitude is exemplified in a quote from Harold D. Cool e y, former chairman of the Committee on Agriculture of the US House of Repr esentatives; speaking in support for PL 480, Cooley stated [ W ] e how you do it and under what authority. We have told you we want the commodities sold
31 for dollars first and then for foreign currencies or then donate them (Mousseau 2005 ). Since the manner in which the government disposes of its surplus has the potential to undo the effects of the subsidy programs that created the surplus in the first place (i.e. by flooding the domestic market with commodities, thus pushing down prices ), it was in the interest of both the government and domestic US producers to dispose of public stocks in ternationally this took the form of international food aid. Consequently, a fter WWII PL 480 quickly emerged as a critical component of US agricultural exports ; indeed, by 1960 food aid comprised approximately one third of the total value of US agricultural exports (Barrett and Maxwell 2004) Title I is the component of PL 480 food aid most clearly designed as a response to s ubsidies for American farmers which g enerated large government stockpiles of surplus food. Title I Food Aid which was until recently the predominant form of food aid, has only a vague relation to food insecurity or malnutrition; instead it represents a specific in kind form of economic assis tance. Most Title I aid is provided on a government to government basis and sold in recipient country markets to generate cash. It is considered aid because it reduces food import bills and constitutes a balance of payment support to the get. In addition to disposal of government surpluses, PL 480 food aid particularly Title I was seen as an effective means of opening markets for US agricultural exporters. Farm lobby advocates for food aid commonly note that 43 of the top 50 importers of US farm products once received PL 480 food aid, and that some of the major US food aid recipients of th e 1950s and 1960s (e.g., Italy, Spain, India and Korea) are now major commercial customers for US food exporters The claim is thus that while in the short run food aid significantly substitutes for commercial food imports
32 in the longer run it will stimulate demand f or food exports from the donor. However, despite the emphasis which the original PL 480 legislation (and Title I in particular) placed on the development of commercial trading relationships with recipient nations, and although there are certain individual cases in which PL 480 does appear to have help ed the U S enter or protect certain overseas markets for agricultural commodities, the theor etical argument for exactly how this might occur is cloudy. Some attempt to make the case for how PL 480 shipments can be a tool for market development by arguing that food aid fosters economic growth in recipient countries an d consequently, that once rec ipient countries beco me commercial food importers, they will purchase from the U S because of an allegiance stemming from the previous concessional transfers of aid The first part of this argument, however that food aid is an effective tool for generatin g economic growth is seriously debated and suspect ( Barrett, 1999 ) The second part that PL 480 shipments today will create an allegiance to American commercial suppliers tomorrow a lso seems questionable ; o nce a country is able to buy food commercial ly, it will likely do so from the seller offering the best deal and will not necessarily be motivated by some sort of allegiance towards a former provider of aid. A nother common a rgument is that PL 480 shipments can promote eventual commercial food export market s by fostering a change in tastes toward US dominant commodities (e.g. wheat, soy) This argument is essentially based in the notion of a free sample ; a familiar marketing tactic which attempts to broaden a customer base by convincing new customers of the quality of a product on a one time concessional basis While this argument certainly has some theoretical merit, again one would expect new commercial
33 customers to buy from the source offering the most attractive product on the most attractive ter ms not necessarily the US D espite the questionable validity of the diverse donor interests of food aid particularly whether it is an effective tool for bolstering US agricultural markets these notions have undeniably become well established and hig hly important myths amongst disapproving of changes to the status quo in US food aid. I t is quite clear that a few specific small, but highly influential subgroups believe and continue to perpetrate these myths because they profit from food aid as presently practiced T hree beneficiary groups in particular stand out, often referred to as the iron triangle of food aid 6 The Iron Triangle of food aid The three interest groups who most vehemently uphold t he status quo o f US food aid are agribusiness firms, maritime shipping companies, and a small but powerful group of NGOs While their goals and activities differ greatly, these three interest groups generate significant monetary benefits from food aid, and thus exercise substantial cooperat ion to perpetuate food aid programs in their current form. U ndeniably, as described earlier t he idea that US food aid promotes US rs. Yet 6 is a term originally used by political scientists to describe the p olicy making relationship between the legislature, the bureaucracy ( or executive sometimes called "Government Agencies"), and interest groups (represented by lobbyists). Central to the concept of an iron triangle is the assumption that bureaucratic agenci es, as political entities, seek to create and consolidate their own power base. In this view an agency's power is determined by its constituency, not by its consumers. Thus, while the adaptation of the term to discussions of the self interested constituenc y of food aid is somewhat inaccurate, it effectively portrays the role of interest groups in food aid policy formation.
34 b ecause of stringent standards imposed by the administrators of PL 480, o nly a limited number of firms have the resources and capabilities to qualify them to bid on the contracts Consequently, a handful of large corporations (rather than US farmers per se) dominate the arena of PL 480 food aid procurement : in 2003, just two firms Cargill and Archer Daniels Midland won the contracts to provide a third of all US food aid shipments. The extremely limited competition involved in food aid procurement results in inefficiencies and added costs; on average, the US government pays 11% above market price for food aid commodities (Murphy and McAfee 2005 ). I n US agricultural secto r, the notion that PL 480 supports domestic farmers interests is somewhat inaccurate; the reality is that f armers do not sell food aid to the government, large grain firms do. US farmers do not handle food aid contracts, and profits from food aid to farmer s themselves are largely insignificant (Murphy and McAfee 2005) ; to quote food aid scholar C.B. Barrett, middlemen who enjoy most of the gains, not the farmers (Dugger 2005 ) One such middleman, t he domestic shipping industry is another well e stablished beneficiary of the domestic purchase clause of PL 480. Because PL 480 mandates that food aid commodities be purchased from US growers, maritime companies are inherently implicated in the aid business as the entities which deliver food aid commod ities to its overseas recipients limited and exclusive contracts (PL 480 stipulates that 75% of food aid shipping vessels must fly the US flag) and again, only a handful of firms domina te: only eighteen shipping firms were qualified to bid on food aid contracts in the 1990 s (Murphy and McAfee 2005) Food aid is seen as a reliable and comfortable profit source for what
35 many perceive to be a suffering industry ; US carriers handle only 3% o f US imports and exports not including food aid (Murphy and McAfee 2005 ). Th e decline of the US shipping industry is lik ely because, simply put, US shippers are so much more expensive than carriers from other nations. It has been estimated that US bulk ca rriers cost 75.9% more than foreign bul k carriers over the same routes, shipping the same commodities; obviously, international corporations are more likely to utilize more affordable carriers. Thus, as with large agribusiness, w hile domestic procurement r equirements create a cozy niche market for the high priced US shipping industry, they inherently have a negative A small number of charitable NGOs make up the third leg of the s o called iron t riangle. While NGOs focus e xplicitly on humanitarian motivations in their aid work, similar to agribusiness and shipping firms they generate significant revenues fro m food aid programs and exert significant influence over food aid policy decisions. The root of NGOs self interest in food aid essentially stems from the process of monetization. As described earlier, monetization has become a crucial mechanism to supplement NGOs budgets, allowing them to cover the administrative costs of their development and humanitarian programs. Many NGOs thus understand food aid as the means to their institutional survival; a 2000 study by Tufts University noted that the vast majority of US based NGOs involved in food aid delivery accepted food aid because they believed it to be the only resource that the US a s a donor would make available (Barrett and Maxwell 2004 ). The food aid domain can be equally exclusive for NGOs as it is for agribusiness and shipping firms; in 2001 only three major NGOs (CARE, World Vision and Catholic Relief Services) received the vast majority of humanitarian aid
36 appropriations approximately $1.2 billion in food aid program revenues primarily through monetization (Murphy and McAfee 2005) Ultimately, w hile NGOs typically garner less critique than large business, largely be cause description of his NGO, the Carter Institute they are perceived as being in the realm of angels they are indeed some of the most steadfast defenders of the contentious status quo in food aid policy. Conclusion PL 4 80 today Over time, food aid has become much less important to the economic well being of the US agricultural sector. Today, food aid accounts for a much lower share of world food production and trade than it did in the 1960s or 1970s, as food aid volumes declined while production and trade volumes expanded. Though US food aid levels fluctuated throughout the 1980s and 1990s, they have remained a relatively small share of US exports. Even in 1993, when US food aid shipments were at record levels, they accou nted for only 6% of total exports (Barrett and Maxwell 2004 ). As the magnitude of food aid deliver ies changed over its 55 year history, so have the mechanisms and objectives of the program The changing face of food aid is partly a response to the scholar ly and political critic ism which PL 480 experienced in the 1980s and 1990s (Ball and Johnson 1996) Thi s criticism took is s ue with the strong element of economic and political donor interest in food aid particularly in Titles I and III of PL 480. Conseque ntly, p erhaps the most notable shift in the mechanisms of US food aid has been the significant decline of these more contentious aspects of the US food aid program I n the 2007 fiscal year only three
37 countries were recipients of Title I aid, and the quanti ty of food delivered was only 10% of 1980 level s (USAID 2008) Even more diminished is Title III aid, which was appropriated no money in 2006, and is currently designated as dormant (USAID 2008) With these significant reductions of Title I and Title III food aid, Title II and especially its emergency aid deliveries has become the pr imary component of the program. The share of emergency food delivered within total food aid rose in the 1990s and currently stands at almost 50% (USAID 2008 ) Many of the critics of Title I and Title III aid see Title II aid as an improvement because it is grant based; donating rather than selling food aid commodities. Additionally, rather than performing direct government to government transfers, Title II aid typically re lies on a host of NGOs to distribute the aid; theoretically making aid delivery more efficient and promoting donor accountability. Some studies have also shown that Title II, as emergency food aid, inherently places greater emphasis on recipient need rathe r than donor interest. Ball and Johnson (1996) find that donor interest has become less important in since the 1970s, increasingly replaced by recipient need ; a finding they attribute in large part to the increasingly multilateral and emergency based natur e of US food aid delivery Perhaps most significantly in accordance with authorizing legislation PL 480 has publicly undergone an agenda shift and reprioritization; t he 1990 Farm Bill made enhancing food security in the developing world t he over riding objective of PL 480, and the subsequent 2002 and 2008 Farm Bills have reinforced that message. Title II now represents the largest resource focus ed on the problem of global food insecurity. Despite these changes, there are still those who profit from food aid, often at the cost of program inefficiencies. While the fact that the US government no longer holds
38 farm surpluses and must buy its food aid commodities has precipitated changes in food aid procurement and management, food aid program s remain an appealing option for policy makers to moderate agricultural markets when domestic commodity supply starts to climb and prices to fall. Many still view US food aid policy as being driven largely by domestic policy moti vations, a view that has be en reinforced by a host of studies which have analyzed the relationship between US agricultural policy interests and food aid shipments. A study by Diven, mentioned earlier (Diven 2001 ), models US aid shipments as a function of donor surplus stocks and don or exports Her analysis finds that aid shipments are strongly positive ly correlated with donor stocks (i.e. US aid shipments rise in years of domestic surplus ) Diven concludes that US food aid flows have consistently served the interests of [domestic] c ommodity producers (Diven 2001 ). A gain, while food aid s effects on bolstering domestic market s have been debated policy makers continue to see raising food aid allocations as an appropriate response to industry demands for support in years of large crop s and low prices. Consequently, o ne of the arenas in which food aid has come to the fore most recently is the WTO Food aid has been caught up in global trade debates over whether price supports and subsidies for US farmers harm producers in the developin g world by lowering the international commodity prices. Critics of US food aid policy argue that government appropriation s for food aid are inherently a subsidy ; a government purchase of a privately produced commodity S ubsidization of agricultural commodi ty purchases for PL 480 has generated accusations from some WTO members that US food aid is essentially committing the disallowed practice of dumping (i.e. the overseas sales of program food aid for less than the costs of production ) Food aid has come u nder
39 particular scrutiny in the most recent WTO round of trade negations ; the Doha Round. One proposal still under debate from the Ugandan WTO delegation seeks to ban donations of food in kind or restrict them to major emergencies, allowing donor gover nments to only use cash for the purchase of food aid. Undoubtedly, these WTO debates have significant potential to influence US food aid policy. It should be noted here that has a lso given attention to the practice of using GM food as aid. This issue is of considerable concern to t h e topic of this thesis, and will be discussed in chapter 2, a s well as in the concluding chapter on policy implications. To conclude while it has unde rgone some laudable shifts in its motivations and methodology, f ood aid under PL 480 is still undeniably a contentious resource The somewhat hurried overview of the history and debates of US food aid policy offered in this chapter is intended to lay the f oundation for t he main argument of this thesis that conflicts and brought new facets to the fore driving debates in the modern era of PL 480. The next chapter will offer a dee per investigation into several of the matters introduced above particularly the role of agribusiness in food aid policy formation.
40 Chapter 2: Genetically Modified Food Aid Background on Biotechnology The development of the science Broadly speaking, biotechnology interchangeably referred to as genetic modification or genetic engineering is any technique that uses living organisms or substances from these organisms to make or modify a product for an intended purpose. Biotechnology can be applied to all classes of organism, from viruses and bacteria to applied to health sciences, allowing scientists to find new ways to produce drugs and vaccines. For example diabetics benefited from GM insulin, produced by bacteria given a human gene for insulin production. In the late 1980s researchers began to apply the science to plant and livestock species. While people have long crossbred related plant or animal specie s to develop hybrids with desirable traits (indeed, the practice is at the core of modern agriculture), traditional crossbreeding has its limitations. For example, traditional crossbreeding may require breeding several generations to obtain a desired trait or breed out unwanted characteristics, and is thus highly time consuming. Traditional crossbreeding also limited farmers and agricultural scientists to mixing genes between like varieties within species. Agricultural biotechnology meanwhile, allows for th e faster and broader development of new crop or livestock varieties by allowing scientists to directly introduce the genes for a given trait into plant or animal species, even if they are from unlike species. Much of the
41 curren t debate about biotechnology fails to make clear what is actually being discussed. It is thus important to make the distinction between broader biotechnology and agricultural biotechnology and GMOs, as people typically group them together. To clarify, when this thesis refers to biote chnology it specifically means agricultural biotechnology. In addition to much uncertainty regarding the science behind genetic engineering, many people, and particularly consumers, are unclear on how the science has been applied (i.e. on which commercia lly available crops are actually GM ) As will be discussed shortly, this is because labeling requirements for GM foods are largely non existent; the merits or flaws of this decision notwithstanding, a lack of labeling has undoubtedly led to the persistence of many myths regarding GM agricultural products and foods. To be direct: only a modest number of plant products obtained from biotechnology are currently produced commercially. Currently, the most widely available GM crops are soybeans, corn (which will be interchangeably referred to as maize), and cotton. As far as engineered traits, product development and commercialization of GM crops has actually been slow, and a limited number of producer based traits (specifically herbicide tolerance and insect res istance ) constitute the most widespread uses of GM crops in the US and worldwide. Herbicide tolerant (HT) crops are engineered to tolerate specific herbicides which would otherwise kill the plant along with targeted weeds. Insect resistant (IR) crops effec tively have pesticides inserted into the plants themselves to control insect pests for the life of the crop, thereby reducing the need for continued pesticide application. Most IR crops rely on the insertion of a gene from a bacterium known as Bt ( Bacillus thuringiensis ), which produces its own insecticidal toxins.
42 Soybeans are the dominant HT crop though corn is increasingly HT as well while cotton and corn are the dominant IR crops. The integration of agricultural biotechnology in the US The US is the central player in the adoption of GM agricultural products worldwide, and US government agencies, as well as many national research institutions and most in the agricultural sector have supported biotech development and application. The US currently ac counts for about three quarters of the world wide total of planted biotech c rops (Fernandez Cornejo 2006). In general, GM technological development in the US has been concentrated amongst a few large companies; ten corporations today control 100% of the ma rket for GM seeds (GRAIN 2005). Monsanto is by far the leading producer of genetically engineered seed, holding 70% 100% market share for various crops (GRAIN 2005). bal GM acreage in 2000 (Herrick 2006 operations (including in Europe and Africa) to Monsanto in 1998 for $1.4 billion it became the largest agricultural biotech corporation in the world. GM crops biotechnology and Monsanto are inextricably linked. Though over 60 GM versions of 13 different plants have been approved for commercial use in the US, the three aforementioned crops (soy, corn, and cotton) have constituted by far the largest adoption of biotechnology in domestic agriculture. GM IR cotton engineered with the Bt insecticide trait was swiftly adopted after its introduction in 1995; currently, 85% of the total U S crop is GM (Fernandez Cornejo 2006). Soybeans
43 meanwhile have mostly been developed for HT, spe cifically designed to survive in the presence of Roundup a pesticide patented and produced by agri business giant Monsanto. Roundup (whose active ingredient is the chemical glyphosate) is the most widely used herbicide in the US, with approximately 85 90 million pounds used annually in US agriculture (Fernandez Cornejo 2006). The acceptance and proliferation of Roundup Ready soybeans in US farms has truly been phenomenal; currently, Roundup Ready soybeans comprise approximately 90% of the t otal US crop (Fernandez Cornejo 2006). The third dominant GM crop, corn, has been designed to exhibit both the Bt impressive; currently, approximately 61% of all U S corn is GM (Fernan dez Cornejo 2006). GM corn and soy are most widely used as animal feed, primarily for raising cattle. However, b ecause GM soy and corn are also the source of various ingredients used extensively in many processed foods (e.g. corn syrup and soybean oil), a very wide range of commercially available processed foods have at least some GM content. It has been estimated that at least 60% of all US foods and more than 75% of all processed foods likely contain some GM material (Fernandez Cornejo 2006). As GM seeds and products began to enter the market in the early 1990s, consumer and industry representatives in the US expressed a variety of health, environmental, and market concerns and lobbied the first Bush administration to establish a regulatory framework for GMOs. B usinesses often seek to ensure that decision making is technical and devoid of political concerns (Levidow and Tait 1995) Therefore the biotech industry in the US expressed concern about widening the regulatory circle too far, both in terms of
44 the actors involved and the range of issues considered. The US biotech industry has insisted that product regulation should assess only safety, quality and efficacy for man and the environment on the basis of objective scientific criteria ( Levidow and T ait 1995 ). determined by the free choice of consumers in the market (Levidow and Tait 1995). In tune with this line of thinking, the biotech regulatory framework ultimately draf ted by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) ruled that new GM foods were similar enough to previously existing foods to fall under the Generally Regarded as Safe legislation 7 Accordingly, there has been no requirement or expectation for US producer s to distinguish separate and label GM foods in commercial food supplies. The non GM maize freely intermix on farms, along transport routes, in silos, and ultimately in pr ocessed and packaged foods. The lack of segregation offers obvious gains in efficiency. For example, many in the grain industry contend that segregating biotech from conventional varieties would significantly raise handling costs and would generate unwarra nted concern amongst consumers that GM foods were less safe than their conventional counterparts ( Levidow and Tait 1995 ) However, consumer advocacy groups and those in the anti GMO movement cite that the open mixing of GM and non GM crops has denied consu mer choice and exposed unwitting consumers to the potential risks of GMOs. 7 Regarded is a concept used in food and drug assessment in several countries to identify substances that have been assessed as ingredients in many products and found in all cases to be safe. It simplifies the assessment process by eliminating those substances from extensive and repetitive assessment.
45 G iven the phenomenal acceptance of biotechnology by US soy and maize growers, and given the fact that GM crops are unsegregated in food processing, it was inevitable that a large p ortion of US food aid would be GM under the current in kind system. Aid agencies ought to have appreciated relatively early that a large portion of food aid was likely to have at least some GM content. However, while small controversies over GM content in food aid arose in Ecuador in 2000, in Colombia in 2001, and in Nicaragua, Guatemala and Bolivia in early 2002, most food aid agencies including the WFP failed to anticipate the implications of such scenarios. Neither the USAID nor WFP drafted an offici al statement on GM food aid until mid 2002 when the issue attracted inter national media attention (Clapp 200 5 ). The EU US Trade Dispute over GMOs One cannot talk of the political economy of GMOs and GM food aid even less so without discussing the re lated EU US trade dispute. The dispute can essentially be traced along two main threads of EU action. First, there is the matter of growing European consumer disproval of GMOs, linked to the vilification of global biotechnology corporations such as Monsant formalized prevention of GM commodity imports into the EU. Regarding the first thread of action, US maize exports to Europe had substantially decre ased even before the moratorium was in effect, plunging from 70 million bushels in 1997 to 3 million bushels in 1998 ( Hart 2002 ). This decline was due to a remarkably
46 effective and persistent media and activist campaign which generated consumer backlash in Europe against GM foods imported from the US. Environmental NGOs such as Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth primarily based their case against agricultural biotechnology on the potential risks posed to the environment, human health, and biodiversity. Yet a nother effectiv e GMO campaign occasionally overlooked by the literature was the vilification of multi national agribusiness corporations involved in biotechnology, particularly Monsanto. Anti GMO campaigns portra yed corporations such as Monsanto as arrogant money hungry and unethical (Charles 2001), and GM opposition in the EU was frequently expressed as concern over the globalized, corporate control of the food chain. When the European public became aware o food production 8 the company became a foil for mobilizing a wide range of anti corporate and anti globalization movements behind the anti GMO campaign. By giving biotechnology a corporate, greedy persona lity, this campaign further lowered European consumer demand for biotec h products, and as a side effect further obscured the science behind biotechnology (or rather, further removed science from the debate). y at a low point, the seco nd thread of the trade battle, the de facto moratorium effectively placed the nail in the coffin of EU US trade of GM commodities. Citing the differences between US and EU regulatory systems for the commercialization of GMOs, t he 1998 moratorium formalized the rejection of US imported GM commodities. 8 creage in 2000 (Herrick 200 6 ).
47 As mentioned, t he US regulatory system for GMOs involves applying previously existing food safety and environmental protection regulations to biotech products, making approval decis ions based on the characteristics of products rather than whether they are derived from biotechnology. Under this approach, the US has approved the commercialization of most new biotech varieties to date ( Fernandez Cornejo 2006 ). The EU, on the other hand, has created a distinct regime for regulating biotech products which seriously limits approval for GM product commercialization. Based on the precautionary principle 9 the European Commission maintains that approval of new biotechnology products should not proceed if there is insufficient, inconclusive or uncertain scientific data regarding potential risks ( Regulation (EC) No 1829 2003 ). Thus, the moratorium did not involve the outright rejection manif estation of a stringent approval system which prevented the commercialization of new GM varieties. The Implications of the Moratorium With minor exceptions, the EU and its member states approved no GM products between 1998 and 2004. As of January 2004, 22 GM products or crops awaited approval. An EU press release from May 2003 describes the changing origins of EU maize (corn) and soybean imports, from the earliest consumer rejections in 1995 to 2002. The market share of US maize dropped dramatically as e xports fell from 3,325,082 tons in 9 The precautionary principle is a moral and political principle which states that if an action or policy might cause harm to the public or to the environment, in the absence of a scientific consensus that harm would not ens ue, the burden of proof falls on those who would advocate taking the action. The principle implies that there is a responsibility to prevent exposure to harm where scientific investigation has discover ed a plausible if not definite, risk.
48 1995 to 25,934 tons in 2002 (Herrick 2006) US soybean exports to the EU also experienced a decline of over 4,000,000 tons during that period (Herrick 2006). It has been estimated that from 1998 2002, the US lost around $ 300 million per year in sales of maize to the EU, and an estimated $800 million per year in soybean sales (USDA Economic Research Service Website Accessed 1/24/2009). Pringle (2003) reveals that Monsanto experienced a 50% drop in stock value in 2002 and re ported an 18% drop in sales during the first nine months of that fiscal year. As a result of substantial pressure, Monsanto CEO Hendrik Verfaille left the position in late 2002. The EU moratorium was not the only rejection of US biotech exports. Approximat ely thirty rejected GM technology exacerbating already dire economic repercussions for US agricultural exports. While the EU has never accounted for more than 5% of the world market for US corn, several major markets in Asia and Latin America (including Japan, Korea, and Mexico), responsible for more than three measures t hat would require labeling of biotech foods. The market outlook for US GM exports was increasingly negative. The Clinton and Bush administrations repeatedly asked the WTO to compel the EU to change its restrictions against GM imports, arguing that the mora torium violated free trade principles. Finally, in May 2003, the US, Canada, and Argentina (Canada and Argentina are the second and third largest producers of biotech crops after the US) After an extended
49 support of the US. The ruling stated that a moratorium had existed, and that bans on EU approved GM crops in six EU member countries violated WTO rules specifically the regulation and risk assessment to be based on science The WTO ruling stated that the EU must end its de facto moratorium, mandating that EU regulators move away from their precautionary approach and towards a system which allows for the import of GM crops that have been approved in the US. The EU announced that it would not appeal the ruling and agreed on January 11, 2008 as a deadline for official EU im plementation of the panel report, a deadline that was extended and is currently in the process of being met. import of US GM products, there remains little demand for such pro ducts among European consumers. Additionally, while the broader EU moratorium was overturned, several individual countries have disputed and/or refused the WTO ruling and maintain Roundup Ready varieties have been particularly affected, as France, Germany, Austria, Hungary, grounds. The US is slowly beginning to recover its lost agricultural markets in Europe, yet several factors namely the negative publicity surrounding GMOs make the process difficult and protracted.
50 Understanding the threat and lasting effects created for US agricultural exports, we can finally turn to elaborating on the several ways in which food aid might serve as a tool to s donor interested biotechnology related goals Again the proliferation of GMOs in US agriculture, along with US ins istence on providing in kind aid, has essentially made the inclusion of some GMOs in the US food aid program inevitable. However, clear evidence points to the purposeful manipulation of food aid by agriculture associated government agencies and the US biot ech industry in order to maximize donor interests. It should be made clear that promot ing biotechnology does not need to directly Service (FAS) is characterized as pro biotec have described their role as more directly commodity related; promote the technology, our role is to promote whatever US farmers are growing, meaning that agency officials don't go out a nd plug biotech, we go out and plug [biotech intensive] corn and cotton and things like that (quoted in Essex 2008, p. 198). With this in mind we can turn to the four lin ked (i.e. mutually reinforcing) biotech supporting aims towards which food aid has b een used : increasing direct profit, overturning the EU moratorium precipitating a public relations makeover of the agricultural biotech industry, and encouraging the acceptance of GMOs in developing countries. Increasing direct profit As discussed in ch apter 1, f ood aid has historically been a tempting (though largely inefficient [Barrett and Maxwell 2004]) release valve to control commodity
51 prices. Food aid shipments tend to increase in response to a surplus crop harvest, or when international commodity prices are low for some other reason. The loss of the EU market, as well as the global ripple effects of the European moratorium, led to diminished exports of GM commodities (soy and maize). Further, the very nature of GM crops led to increased surplus/en ding stocks : GM crops have, after all, been designed to increase yield. Such increased yields and diminishing markets for GM crops globally left US soy and maize growers with a glut of product and decreased GM commodity prices (Stacey and Jorgensen 2008). History tells us that such a situation would result in increased quantities of soy and corn as food aid, in order to lower surplus and boost the profits of these biotech intensive commodities. Using FAS data from 1992 (the earliest year for which such dat a is available) until 2006 (the latest year for which such data is available), the graphs below support the hypothesis that GM commodities as a percentage of total food aid deliveries have closely followed trends in the market for those commodities Levels of corn and soy in food aid both appear to have fluctuated in accordance with export levels and ending stocks (or surpluses). As expected, when exports of GM commodities are low, those commodities will constitute a higher percentage of total food aid deli veries. Similarly, GM commodities tend to constitute a higher percentage of total food aid deliveries when there are significant surpluses of GM commodities remaining at the end of a fiscal year.
52 The s e defined trend s are in large part due to t he lob bying efforts of the biotech industry and biotech intensive crops. The lobbying effort is evidenced by the proliferation of aid centric commodity organizations such as the World Initiative for Soy in Human Health (WISHH), which is operated by the American Soybean Association (ASA). WISHH aims to promote exports of US soy protein for diets in developing countries, particularly through its inclusion in food aid. Towards this aim, WISHH has work ed with numerous food aid NGOs (such as CARE and Save the Children ) in 23 different developing countries in Africa, Asia and Central America (WISHH Website Accessed 1/24/2009). The complicated and seemingly paradoxical motivations of WISHH mirror those which gave rise to PL 480 in the 1950s; w opportunities for US soy in programs that help feed the hungry and to stimulate demand for US soy leading to long term sustainable development (WISHH Website Accessed 1/24/2009). Struggling
53 to balance donor interest and recipient need, WISHH describes its humanitarian initiatives as explicitly linked to market development: WISHH also understands that developing nations of today are tomorrow's customers for US soy. All of the top 10 export countries for US soy is [sic] a current or former recipient of U S foreign aid assistance (WISHH Website Accessed 1/24/2009). the variety of soy products in food aid. WISHH, by providing the government and NGOs with the nutritional in formation that led to greater recognition of the benefits of soy proteins, was instrumental in the USDA approval of five new value added soy products in food aid programs (WISHH List 2002). These include defatted soy flour, soy protein concentrates, isol ated soy protein, textured vegetable proteins and soy milk replacer. The USDA decision allowed food aid NGOs as well as the WFP to request these products for their international programs. These are high value products (for example, one ton of soy protein c oncentrate costs an average of $700 to procure, whereas one ton of bulk soybeans costs an average of only $280 [USDA Economic Research Service Website Accessed 1/24/2009]) and their use in food aid currently generates several millions of dollars of annual revenue for soy processors. The response of WISHH Representative and Former ASA President Tony Anderson made the connection to market interests quite clear, Food aid is the most significant market available for moving surplus soybeans and soy products (W ISHH List 2002). In order to increase the amount of corn and soy in food aid, growers and processers have utilized and benefitted from a 1985 Farm Bill mandate which established that at least 75% of non emergency food aid be value added meaning fortifie d, bagged
54 or processed. This mandate was originally supported by USAID and food aid NGOs as a means of increasing the health value of traditionally mineral poor food aid commodities (e.g. wheat). H owever, poor quality control standards rendered the require ment largely ineffective in terms of additional nutrient delivery (Barrett and Maxwell 2004), and the value added requirement is now mostly supported and defended by US food processors and agribusiness. Soy and corn have proven to be highly versatile commo dities in terms of processing capabilities and have profited greatly from the value added requirement (much more so than wheat, which is almost exclusively delivered in bulk form). Soy Fortified and Blended foods, such as the ubiquitous corn soy blend have become a major component of aid deliveries in the wake of the requirement and now constitute a substantial guaranteed market for those commodities. While the value added requirement is laudable in its commitment to nutritional needs, because only a handful of companies have the processing capabilities to meet its specifications, its exploitation is a contributing factor to the oligopoly over food aid procurement contracts (Barrett and Maxwell 2004). This oligopoly over procurement contracts is in large part responsible for the phenomenon of aid agencies paying a premium (i.e., greater than equivalent market prices) for food aid commodities. Price premiums are illustrative of the logic of using food aid for direct profit; not only does food aid offe r a guaranteed export market, but quite often it may yield higher prices than conventional food sales. Corn has become the commodity which receives the largest price premium in food aid procurement. Barrett has estimated that in an average food aid shipmen t, corn food aid purchases cost more than 70% in excess of the equivalent market prices, compared with only a 3.2% excess for wheat (Barrett and Maxwell 2004).
55 Tellingly, Barrett explains that this percentage may be larger than in typical aid procurement b ecause the corn price series used in his study represented a low point in corn market value, during the StarLink GM corn controversy in 2000. 10 Food aid is thus an appealing resource for GM commodity producers feeling the effects of consumer rejections; whi le the market may respond to such rejections with lower prices, the agencies in charge of food aid procurement maintain unrealistically high premiums. Overturning the EU moratorium In addition to stimulating direct profit from guaranteed markets, food ai d has been used to further the broader economic interests of the agricultural biotech industry. In threatened the long new technologies and most profitable private research fields. The US was eager to stem this backlash, yet was at a disadvantage because the anti GMO campaign had been highly effective in mobil izing a wide range of interest groups. While bringing the case to the WTO would likely result in the swift overturning of the more formal aspects of the moratorium as a violation of free trade principles, it would do little to stem consumer backlash agains t the corporate stigma of the biotech industry (indeed, in light of the anti globalization rhetoric adopted by the anti 10 StarLink is a variety of Bt corn patented by Aventis Crop Sciences, intended for use in animal feed. US regulatory authorities permitted the commercial sale of StarLink seed with the stipulation that crops produced must not be used for human consumption. This restrictio n was based on the possibility that a small number of people might develop an allergic reaction to the Bt protein used in the product StarLink corn was subsequently found in food desti ned for consumption by humans; a n episode involving Taco Bell taco shel ls was particularly well publicized This led to a public relations disaster for Aventis and the bi otechnology industry as a whole, and s ales of StarLink seed were quickly discontinued.
56 GMO campaign, it would probably exacerbate consumer disapproval). The US thus had to take care to present its long planned WTO case not wholly as a reaction to lost export markets. This goal was achieved through the assertion that the EU moratorium was perpetuating hunger in the developing world, an assertion which the US underscored by sensationalizing various aspects of the 2002 southern African rejection of GM food aid. Some have argued that when biotechnology is considered in the context of the developing world, it turns a political and economic issue into a personal, emotional, moral imperative (Kneen 1999). In the Zambian case, the U S purposely used the hunger against whatever moral reasoning European consumers used to justify their opposition to biotechnology. The US was vehement in its assertion t hat the rejection of markets were it to import GMOs as aid. While there is some logic to the narrative created by this claim, it was purposefully exaggerated by US representatives to maximize EU what had originally been a controversy over its own surrep titious use of food aid into a 22 nd during a graduation speech at the United States Coast Guard Academy, President Bush criticized the European moratorium as perpetuatin g hunger in the developing world, stating that European governments should join not hinder the great cause of ending hunger in Africa (Sanger 2003). That same day, US Trade Representative Robert Zoellick was quoted in The Wall Street Journal as saying: This dangerous effect of the
57 stricken African countries refused US food aid because of fabricated fears stoked by irresponsible rhetoric about food safety (quoted in Zerbe 2004, p. 604). The scen ario was portrayed as the related EU moratorium because of humanitarian concerns. (and its potential impac ts on Zambian exports) actually had less to do with the decision to reject GM food aid from the US. Indeed, trade data reveals that at the time of the affected by EU r et al 2006 ). Barrett points out that the concern about lost export markets seems unfounded since the likelihood of Zambia ever exporting raw or processed maize to Europe is negligible. More likely, Zambia would export meat from livestock fed GM maize and the EU does not (presently) ban imports of livestock fed GM grains (Barrett and Maxwell 2004). My review of the minutes of Zambian government and town hall meetings discussing the issues surrounding the G M aid revealed little concern and discussion regarding possible losses of European markets. By far the most widely discussed aspect of the decision to reject the GM aid was uncertainty regarding the health risks of GMO consumption. Indeed, in an interview with Mwananyanda Lewanika a key scientist involved in the for Scientific and Industrial Research (NISIR) the issue of European markets was not even raised. Rather, Dr. Lewanika argued that the rejection stemmed from conflicting scientific safety assessments of GMOs, as well as concerns over long term food
58 sovereignty. He also made it clear that many Zambian policy makers were frustrated over the suggested linkage to the EU: F or African nations, health concerns are dismissed as being unscientific. It is as if we are not capable of making our own decisions. It is felt that our ideas cannot be our own, that they are influenced by other nations, so the US suggests that t he EU is truly responsible for our policies (Lewanika 2008). The next chapter will demonstrate the complexity and wide range of contextual factors which by US actor s. Deeper analysis of the 2002 food shortage reveals further strategic manipulation by the US, namely that the severity of the food shortage was exaggerated by aid agencies and relevant authorities. A 2004 independent report by Valid International criticiz ed the Disasters Emergency Committee an umbrella group of US and UK humanitarian aid organizations involved in food delivery in the 2002 aid scenario for having over stated the crises in terms of the threat of famine. The report states that There was a clear distinction between how agencies presented the crisis internally and externally. The internal presentation dealt with the chronic nature of the crisis, but the external presentation was far more dramatic and simplistic (Brenton 2005). Brenda Cuppa the head of the US based charity Care International, has said that although there was indeed food insecurity in Zambia, it was chronic in nature and could not accurately be described as famine, stating the situation may have been dramatized to get a res ponse (Brenton 2005). Guy Scott, former Zambian Agriculture Minister, was more accusatory, saying It looks to me as if the international donor community wanted to see a disaster without being critical enough (Dynes 2003).
59 It should be noted that indeed a host of factors did exacerbate already vulnerable and food insecure populations in southern Africa and Zambia. As will be discussed in the following chapter, e rratic weather, poor infrastructure, inadequate food security and government policies converge d with escalating HIV/AIDS rates to threaten the food security of the entire southern African region (Steven et al 2004). The seriousness of the situation and the scale of the humanitarian response should not go unappreciated (the WFP Emergency Operation f or Southern Africa in 2002 was the largest humanitarian operation ever undertaken up to that date, though in 2003 it became second to humanitarian operations in Iraq). However, the complex nature of the crisis was inaccurately portrayed by many, and when th e issue of GMOs was raised, gross generalizations allowed the US to manipulate the situation for its own interest in the EU US trade battle. For instance, while the WFP and many other aid agencies were careful not to label the situation in southern Africa a famine generally defined as when the normal mortality rate in a region doubles due to hunger (Steven et al 2004) the term was explicitly and frequently used by US representatives in discussing the southern African situation. Also, in a deceptive exam ple of synecdoche, the figure of 13 million people the total number of food insecure persons in the six country region was often used when criticizing the Zambian decision to reject GM food aid. Thus, Zambia (which again, was the only country to stay f irm in its decision to completely reject the GM aid) was ambiguously associated with a much broader crisis, making its decision to reject food aid seem even more disastrous and misguided. Plainly, it was the US, its aid agencies, and its trade representa tives who strategically perpetuated the claims that Zambians were starving because GM food aid
60 was being rejected and that this aid was being rejected because of trade concerns over exports to Europe. These claims would ultimately prove effective in creati ng political and public outcry, strategically and effectively tipping the scales of the EU US trade battle over GMOs. The symbolic value of food aid thus allowed the US to re characterize its perspective in the trade battle, paving the way for the US case at the WTO against the EU moratorium, a case initiated only months after the aid rejection. Precipitating a public relations makeover of the agricultural biotech industry Skepticism towards scientists and corporate interests, combined with uncertainty of the risks and benefits associated with biotechnology, made (and continue to make) for an operating environment where consumers and relevant policy authorities are often reluctant to accept GMOs. Undeniably, in order to curtail the highly effective anti GM O campaign, the biotech industry and its products were in desperate need of a public relations (PR) makeover. Towards this aim, the biotechnology industry has engaged in an aggressive publicity campaign to present itself as an advocate and vital resource i n the fight against hunger and malnutrition. Attempting to counter accusations of corporate greed and malevolence, biotech corporations have concentrated on the rhetoric of economic development and rural empowerment. The strategic involvement of GMOs in fo od aid, a clearly visible humanitarian program, has been one of several means utilized by pro biotech actors in precipitating the PR makeover of the science and the industry. In 1998, along with the adoption of a new corporate slogan ( Food, Health, Hope ) Monsanto initiated its Let the Harvest Begin campaign in Europe. The campaign literature, which included full page advertisements in widely read newspapers
61 and magazines, suggested that with massive increases in global population, the risk of famine wi ll inevitably increase to the extent that it can no longer be addressed through conve ntional means. With references to the historic role of the chemical industry in the green revolution, campaign stressed that n ew technologies would once again b e instrumental in combat ing hunger and agricultural disaster. The headline across one such advert stated that Worrying about starving future generations won't feed them. Food biotechnology will (Patel et al 2005). In portraying GM crops as a solution t o worldwide hunger, biotech companies have positioned themselves as development partners and philanthropists rather than profit minded corporate entities. Food aid, as an important humanitarian program focused on the developing world, fits nicely into this new PR strategy for improving the image of GM crops. Pro biotech groups were quick to understand this, and several attempts to associate biotech corporations and their products with food aid emerged in a relatively concentrated period of time. One such a ttempt is the case of golden rice In 2000, a UK based agricultural biotechnology corporation, Zeneca Agrochemicals (which would later merge with another biotech company, Novartis, to become the agricultural biotech giant Syngenta), acquired exclusive ri ghts to a new strain of genetically engineered rice designed to produce beta carotene, a precursor of Vitamin A. The modification (which gave the rice its trademark golden hue) was intended to address Vitamin A deficiency a major problem in developing co untries resulting in approximately 500,000 cases of blindness each year (Taverne 2007). The creator of the rice, Dr. Ingo Potrykus, spearheaded an effort to have golden rice distributed for free to subsistence farmers in developing countries. Given the tre mendous positive media attention surrounding the
62 research (the front page of the July, 31st 2000 issue of TIME Magazine bears a photo of Dr. Potrykus beside a headline stating This rice could save a million kids a year ), the companies who held patent rig hts over golden rice were quick to comply initiative Zeneca issued a press release promising that golden rice would save millions of people from blindness and related diseases and quickly agreed to license and distribute seed for free to a ny farmers making less than $10,000 annually (Taverne 2007). Other firms followed suit, and Monsanto announced that it would provide royalty free licenses for all its technologies that [would] help the further development of golden rice (Taverne 2007) A Golden Rice Humanitarian Board including Dr. Potrykus, as well as representatives from Syngenta, Monsanto, and the Rockefeller Foundation (the main source of funding for the research ) was established to oversee the development of the product and decid e on its means of distribution. The direct connection to food aid was declared in a 2003 speech to the American Enterprise Institute, where then USAID Director Andrew Nastsios stated that USAID intended to facilitate the distribution of golden rice seeds t o farmers and mentioned the potential of using golden rice to increase the nutritional quality of aid packages (Natsios 2003). For many, g olden rice was to be the start of a new green revolution ( in his speech Natsios used the term gene revolution ) and t he apparent solution to a devastating though largely preventable deficiency. Yet these predictions never panned out. As of this writing it is estimated that it will take at least another five years before golden rice is grown outside of field trials (Taver ne 2007) The delay in distribution is largely the result of the anti GMO campaign, which asserted that the product is an attempt to sneak GMOs into developing countries.
63 Greenpeace made accusations that Zeneca had exaggerated the potential effectiveness o f golden rice in combating vitamin A deficiency, and pointed out that since the rice would not address the socio economic roots of poverty and malnutrition it would be largely ineffective in the long term. A bulk of the failures of golden rice can certainl y be attributed to the eagerness with which the biotech industry supported it, as the first inarguably beneficial [GMO] (Taverne 2007). Even Gordon Conway, President of the Rockefeller Foundation and Golden Rice Humanitarian Board member, argued that the publicity surrounding golden rice led to inflated expectations, stating advertisements and the media in general seem to forget that it is a research product that needs conside rable further development before it will be available to farmers and consumers (quoted in Cummings 2008, p. 102). Mirroring the larger debate over GMOs, conflicting assessments and prom ises regarding golden rice ultimately created public confusion and di sapproval. Golden rice aside, the biotech lobby has also supported the use of more developing world through humanitarian programs is one clear example. Similarly, biotech companies have connected themselves to fo od aid through means other than WFP in 2005 for the provision of emergency relief food aid to drought affected populations in Malawi In 2005, Monsanto engaged in yet another charitable donation related to food aid by sponsoring the Friends of the World Food Program's annual awards ceremony, Honoring Leaders in the Fight a gainst H unger The company was the donating $50,000 to help organize the ceremony, which honors individuals and organizations for their leadership in combating global hunger. Such
64 initiatives represent a means of strategic philanthropy a public and visible way for corporations to constru ct and represent a positive social image Strategic philanthropy is intimately linked to the concept of business exposure, which is essentially the extent to exposure is affected by factors like the size of the customer base, the risks inherent in the use of its product or service, and the extent to which operations are geographically dispersed (Saiia et al 2003). Clearly, Monsanto experiences substantial business exposur e, the majority of it negative. Not surprisingly, higher levels of business exposure are associated with higher levels of strategic philanthropy (Saiia et al 2003). Donations to and through food aid programs ha ve been a means for biotech corporations to st rategically present their core values as being humanitarian in nature Ultimately, the humanitarian case for biotechnology is premised on a set of assumptions that leading firms have played a key part in constructing through aggressive PR. By directly atta ching themselves to humanitarian programs such as food aid, pro for profit ; if equate opposition t o biotechnology with opposition to feeding the hungry. Thus, as with development partner utilizes the tool of pathos and effectively silences debate around GMOs, a process w hich some critics have termed poorwashing because of its likeness to corporate greenwashing 11 When the biotech industry is, for various reasons, 11 Greenwashing is the practice of promoting environmentally friendly programs to deflect attention from an organization's environmentally unfriendly activities. Poorwashing thus involve s promoting programs
65 incapable of successfully implementing initiative to help the poor or development, however as was the case with golden rice the motivations behind these efforts inevitably become apparent. Encouraging the acceptance of GMOs in developing countries The US has been quite clear in its support of the acquisition of agricultural biotechnology in developing count ries. Several of the aforementioned strategic aims of GM food aid, particularly the PR strategy described above, implicate the developing world in biotech trends. Additionally, the EU US trade battle over GMOs makes it clear that international trade is inc reasingly confronting developing countries with the need to make definitive decisions on the use of agricultural biotechnology. The strikingly different approaches that the US and the EU have taken towards developing regulatory regimes for GM crops have em erged as predominant and opposing models that frame the global debate on GMOs. Given the opposition, the US has an obvious interest in encouraging the acceptance of GMOs in developing countries, including the facilitation of regulatory frameworks that rese mble those used in the US. There are essentially two tying food aid to technical assistance. Some of the most cynical opponents of GM food aid argue that food aid is purposely accept biotechnology before regulatory frameworks are in place. This line of thinking profit seeking a ctivities and corporate persona
66 asserts that the US understands and exploits the lack of such frameworks by ensuring that a count recipient countries to effectively undermine their position for the later rejection of GMOs impo rted in trade, arguing that early practice even if nonconsensual affects later practice. The claim that it is difficult to make a case for rejection once GMOs are accepted in any form is theoretically persuasive. Indeed, similar reasoning has been espo used by US and WFP officials in the past, particularly in the Zambian aid rejection of 2002. James Morris, former head of the WFP, in voicing his frustration over the Zambian rejection, stated that [The World Food Program] has been distributing GMO food n ow for between seven and eight years, we've never had anyone turn it down, and we've never had any problems (Dateline Report 2002). His comment implicitly begs the now 12 However, this critique is hard to verify. It is i nherently based on the assumption that it is difficult to implement a GMO restrictive trade policy if a country has already accepted GMOs as aid an assumption which currently has no supporting cases or empirical backing. Further, defenders of in kind foo d aid assert that when one bears in mind the phenomenal integration of GMOs in US domestic agriculture, and that legislation mandating in kind deliveries was first established in the 1970s (decades before the creation of GMOs), it seems more likely that GM food aid is an inevitable side effect of US food aid policy rather than a tool with such defined aims. Still, the criticism does 12 consi d er ing : fact that we have tasted poison does not mean that we should continue tasting poison now that we have the facts, and the fac ts are that the research is not conclusive
67 bring up the important point that the lack of a labeling standard for GM foods has led to persistent misinformation and ambigu ity regarding in kind aid shipments. Even if the US is not actively attempting to undermine the formation of biotechnology regulatory raises perplexing questions regarding t he legitimacy of its food aid program. There is another, admittedly less direct way in which food aid and humanitarian assistance can and have been used to promote biotechnology in the developing world. A ts Program makes it quite clear that technical assistance activities are of strategic value in promoting biotechnology. The proposal, titled Addressing Regulatory and Marketing Barriers to the Export of US Agricultural (Bio)technology Enhanc ed Products in Emerging Markets states that Continued technical assistance and outreach activities are needed to address regulatory and consumer acceptance issues [of biotech] in order to maintain and hopefully expand market access for US agricultural exports (FAS 2008, p. 8). Also known as trade capacity building foreign aid budget; funding grew from $504 million, or 2.2% of total US foreign aid in 2000, to $1.35 billion, or 5% of total US aid in 2006 (Brazys 2008). Further, b iotechnology issues have recently become a focal point of USDA and USAID technica l assistance programs. This trend established technical assistance initiatives, the Cochran Fell owship Program. Since 1984, the Cochran Fellowship has provided broad agricultural training opportunities for senior and mid level specialists and administrators from the public and private sectors in developing countries. In FY 2003, the most recent yea r for which complete numbers and
68 course descriptions were available, more than 30% of the program's total of 853 participants received training in biotechnology issues. This constituted by far the largest number of participants in any one training area (th e next largest training area, agricultural business and marketing, was undertaken by only 15.6% of participants) (Essex 2008). While there has been a recent focus on capacity building and technical assistance as aid, the intended outcomes of such initiati ves are not new. Many have asserted that capacity building replicates trends of donor interest superseding recipient need, facilitating US strategic interests in the developing world (Brazys 2008). Reinforcing this assertion, a 2000 study conducted by Penn sylvania State University and FAS underscored the effectiveness of technical assistance programs such as the Cochran Fellowship in furthering US strategic trade interests. The study found that Cochran fellows developed knowledge and ability to influence t heir national policies and, because of their participation in the program, often advanced to higher positions that could someday result in additional impact, with policy change conducive to US trade widely documented (Carlson 2001, p. i). Tellingly, s uch outreach and education activities have also recently become core elements in certain sections of the US food aid program, particularly project food aid FFP exemplifies the trend of tying food aid to tec hnical assistance. In understanding the strategic interests behind FFP it must be remembered that the USDA views food aid primarily as a means of market expansion, as can be evidenced by the fact that USDA funding for food aid falls under the same category Market Development Programs (for that matter, this is the same category from which the Cochran Fellowship receives funding) (FAS Website
69 assisting countries that have committed to expanding free enterprise in their agricultural sectors, FFP initiatives employ a variety of forms of technical assistance related to economic development. Initiatives have focused on training to facilitate improved agricultural techniques, marketing systems, farmer education and cooperative development, expanded use of processing capacity, and development of agriculturally related businesses (FAS Website Accessed 1/24/2009). FFP funds have been used to finance Norman Borlaug Fellows. The Borlaug Fel lowship (officially known as t he Norman E. Borlaug International Agricultural Science and Technology Fellows Program) is designed to strengthen sustainable agricultural practices by providing short term scientific training and collaborative research opportunities to visiting researchers, policymakers and university faculty while they work with a mentor 1/24/2009). The Borlaug F ellowship Program was launched in March 2004 in honor of Dr. Norman E. Borlaug, who has been hailed as the father of the Green Revolution. Borlaug is a firm believer that improved agricultural technology is critical in the fight against food insecurity, having advocated for increased chemical inputs (i.e. pesticides) in developing wor ld agriculture the 1960s. Currently he is an outspoken advocate of biotechnology (Borlaug 2000). T he fellowship program encompasses a wide variety of agricultural technologies related to production, processing and marketing that support global food securit y and trade. The program also addresses obstacles to the adoption of technology in the areas of policy, regulations, human capital and scientific infrastructure. A key aspect of the program is training in biotechnology techniques and regulatory
70 systems (FA S Website Accessed 1/24/2009). FFP funded Borlaug Fellowships have taken place widely throughout the developing world, but especially in Latin America. In El Salvador, a 2004 FFP donation made funds available to finance up to five Norman Borlaug Fellowship s (Herrera 2005); in Ecuado r, a 2005 FAS report states: he US Agricultural Affairs Office in Quito has been active in the past four years on efforts are being made to cont agricultural t raining and in country research (Alarcon 2005). It is notable that the bulk of Borlaug Fellowship s have gone towards Latin American policy makers given the significance of the region as an agricultural trading partner with the US. Resolving potential biotech issues in Latin America has been named a vital trade goal by US growers and policy makers (Cla pp 2006). Clearly, capacity building projects are an important part of the US biotech agenda, and food aid has been used as a means of supporting such projects. Another popular FFP initiative reveals how what may constitute technical assistance can lead to market expansion for biotech commodities. In 2004, FFP in conjunction with WISHH signed an agreement focused on the delivery of food aid to HIV/AIDS affected rural Mozambicans in the Sofala Province. The program included a novel component: to simultaneou sly distribute food aid and generate economic development opportunities, the 990 tons of soy products donated for the initiative would be distributed through low cost soy restaurants component involves the training of rural villagers in food technology as well as business management and basic restaurateur skills needed to operate the soy restaurants. The intensive training program for the operators of these restaurants includes
71 demonstrations on how to prepare soy foods made from defatted soy flour, textured soy protein, soy milk, and other soy protein products (NSRL Bulletin 2002). Clearly, technical assistance in this initiative includes highly specific commodity supporting training. Through this effort, WISHH ac knowledges that it is building long term business relationships in countries that could grow to become customers for US soy products ; This is a new market for us says US Soy Sales Manager Ed Zimmer (NSRL Bulletin 2002) To date, the program has created f ifty soy restaurants serving more than 1 million soy based meals yearly, and USDA citing the success of the program recently renewed its contract for an additional three years. Though less direct, there is a third way in which food aid can support the biotech goals in the developing world: as a market analysis tool. In order to minimize the likelihood of a potentially costly public rejection of biotechnology, corporations as well as the USDA undertake careful consumer and market analysis before GM Os are Network (GAIN), indicates that GM food aid is a relevant factor in biotech market research. GAIN is a collection of FAS overseas reports from 1995 to the present which covers a wide range of issues pertaining to international agricultural trade, including biotechnology reports discuss food aid imports, often in detail, including the to nnage of donations. Given the general perception of aid as a categorical good, and given the language in which food aid is addressed in these reports, it is likely that food aid is seen ducts, a way of testing the waters for a larger biotech trade relationship. Some of the reports make the
72 Officially, Nigeria does een a food aid and food aid (Flake and David 2008, p. 5). The reports also seem to support the claim that food aid can open new markets for US commodities. Take for example In previous years, Serbia and Montenegro imported soybean meal from the US under food donation intro duced to the Serbian and Montenegro markets for the first time (Buric Maslac 2005, p. 3). Conclusion s biotech related policy goals are mutually reinforcing. For assorted reasons, both economic an d symbolic, food aid has been and continues to be seen as an effective tool for achieving the trade and foreign policy goals of the US; given the mounting importance of agricultural biotechnology amongst these goals, it is not surprising that the US food a id p rogram has strategically adapted to incorporate GMOs. These adaptations range from the more blatant (such as the recent rise of biotech intensive commodity lobbies specifically geared towards influencing food aid initiatives) to the more subtle (such as the establishment of complementary capacity building programs which include biotechnology training) and effect US food aid recipients throughout all regions of the developing world. With an u nderstanding of the new policy environment for food aid in the era of agricultural biotechnology, this thesis will now turn to an in depth exploration
73 of the most important and publicized case of GM food aid delivery, the 2002 southern African food shortage, and more specifically the Zambian aid rejection
74 Chapter 3: This chapter analyzes the Zambia n GM food aid delivery scenario, positing that the case is representative of the claims outlined in the previous chapter As the anti GMO movement reached its peak in affectin g profits and public support for the US s food aid response to the southern African food shortage strategically sought to reinforce the humanitarian case for biotechnology. An important facet of this strategy was the propagati to GM food aid. As discussed in the previous chapter, this claim undermined opposition to GMOs, turning a political issu moratorium on GMOs were essentially straw manned 13 by the challenge that trade interests were perpetuating hunger in the developing world. Much of the literature on GM food aid has accepted and elaborat ed upon this claim (Clapp 2006; Paarlberg et al 2006). In this chapter I argue that while there is some validity to the trade losses argument, there were numerous and diverse contextual factors involved in the Zambian aid rejection which were absent from the US policy debate at the time of the scenario, and which have consistently been overlooked by US government aid actors and by much of the literature. This chapter elaborates on these contextual factors, introducing the perspectives of a num ber of new ac tors which played significant role s in the Zambian 13 A straw man argument is a fallacy based on misrepresentation of an opponent's position. attack a straw man is to create the illusion of having refuted a proposition by substituting a nd refu ting a superfic straw man
75 policy environment at the time of the GM aid scenario. Much of this chapter stems from information collected on a research trip to Zambia, undertaken in December of 2008. This research trip allowed me to e xplore the practices and policies of the government by analyzing records of parliamentary meetings, policy briefings, newspaper articles and other primary sources. Much of the materials used are available through the Zambian National Archives, located in L usaka. I supplement this print data with interviews of key figures in the Zambian policy making process and those involved in the 2002 aid rejection. Though the risk of lost exports to Europe likely played a role in the Zambian rejection, it is clear that a wide range of other issues were deliberately overlooked in the Departing from the approach typically undertaken in assessing the Zambian rejection, this chapter does not attempt factors. Instead, I assert that a more nuanced and comprehensive analysis of the aid driven scenario must be undertaken in order to develop a better understandin g of the issues which make GM food aid problematic. Background As early as the s pring of 2002, it became clear that much of southern Africa was rapidly slipping into a food crisis. Across the region, over 14 million people were threatened by food insecur ity, and an estimated half a million metric tons of food was required to meet emergency demand. Agencies reported that the trigger for the food crisis was the disruption of normal patterns of cultivation by erratic weather, as heavy rains
76 early in the grow ing season led to floods, which were followed by long periods of drought (UN Wire 2002). W hile weather conditions were the trigger in the food crisis, a report by the General Accounting Office attributed the food crisis to a number of other factors, includ ing a poorly functioning agricultural sector, poor governance, widespread poverty, and the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Individually, none of these diverse factors would have precipitated the crisis, but in concurrence, they exacerbated one another. The WFP and a n umber of NGOs, including the Red Cross and Save the Children, launched appeals for emergency relief. But the initial appeals were met with little donor response (UN Wire 2002). It was not until July 2002 that donations started to flow through the WFP. The US took the lead donor position, providing a large portion of the total food aid requirements of the region: more than 100,000 tons of yellow maize grain valued at more than $6 million. As donors committed food aid to the region, NGOs began to create foo d aid coordinating mechanisms for the crisis. The UN setup a Regional Inter Agency Coordination and Support Office (RIACSO) to facilitate food procurement and distribution in region and monitor developments in the crisis. By August of 2002, the Office had Before the food aid pipeline was fully established however, concerns over the GM content of the aid being delivered became prominent. In mid August of 2002 Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi, Mozambique, Lesotho, and Swaziland all registered in opposition to GM food aid. As will be discussed later in the chapter, the specific reactions to GM food aid varied somew hat. Swaziland and Lesotho, after expressing their initial concern over the issue, continued to accept unmilled GM maize without restriction. Zimbabwe,
77 Mozambique, Lesotho, and Malawi meanwhile, placed various restrictions on imports of unmilled GM maize g rain, requesting that the grain be milled instead to prevent its dissemination into the environment. Zambia however, refused even milled GM maize. Though US actors were insistent in their assertion that it would be impossible to source enough non GM food to meet the food security needs of the region (UN Wire 2002), s ignificant stockpiles of non GM food aid from other countries could feasibly have been sourced Inside the region, Kenya, Tanzania, South Africa and Uganda collectively held more than 1.6 milli on metric tons of maize, more than enough to satisfy production shortfalls in drought affected countries (Zerbe 2004 ). India had more than 33 million metric tons of non GM grains stockpiled ; s uch grain could have be en purchased and transported via triangul ar transaction quicker and for less than half the cost of grain shipped from the US (Zerbe 2004 ). The decision of the US government to distribute GM food in aid packages in Southern Africa was clearly not the result of a lack of non G M alternatives. Rather the decision to provide only GM maize to Southern Africa reflected the unwillingness of USAID to eng age in meaningful discussion of the applicability, appropriateness, and desirability of introducing GMOs in the region. As the GM food aid dispute between US and African government officials intensified, a wide variety of other actors including the EU, the international media, and NGOs began their involvement. In the hopes of easing some relating to GMOs, the US sponsored a fact finding mission for a group of Zambian scientists, policy makers, and religious and NGO leaders This small group toured the US, the UK, the Netherlands, Brussels, Norway and South Africa, with support from the
78 US and several European countries ( Lewanika 2008) Their report to the Zambian government was a disappointment to USAID, which had been convinced that they would agree that GM foods were safe (Steven et al. 2004). They did not. In their m eetings with scientists in Europe, they found enough evidence to support their fears about GM that they advised the Zambian government to pursue an approach of caution. Prior to the rejection, all of the countries in the region had accepted unmilled mai ze from the WFP as food aid without controversy. As a result of these policy changes, the WFP was obliged to re route and even reverse some food aid deliveries to the region. Large shipments of GM maize were stranded at ports of entry and WFP had to make i mmediate arrangements to mill large quantities of the food aid. The process of milling not only added significant logistical concerns, but it was expensive as well; adding approximately $25 per ton to the cost of delivery (Steven et al. 2004). Further, few countries in the region actually had the established milling infrastructure needed for the operation; South Africa, which had perhaps the largest milling system in the region, had to re open several previously closed mills to cope with the demand. Millin g extraction also reduced the total quantity of maize available for distribution All of these costs led to substantial delays in distribution, and it was not until months later, in March of 2003 that the milled grain would finally be distributed in large quantities (Steven et al. 2004). Ultimately, GM food for Zambia was shipped from European donors through the WFP. Both the US and the WFP received significant criticism from a wide range of act ors for their lack of anticipation that GM food aid could become a contentious
79 resource, and for their handling of the 2002 rejection scenario. The crisis would ultimately become a lightning rod for both sides of the GMO debate. The reasons behind the rej ection I assert that there were four primary motivations other than the commonly cited EU Zambian trade relationship which led Zambia to exert such a strong oppositional misinformation regarding the health risks of GMO consumption, the threat which GMOs posed to small and biosafety regulatory framework. This section does not attempt to include every introducing these new (i.e. often overlooked) and important justification s for the rejection, this discussion serves to highlight the fact that the aid decision was ultimately complex and highly contextual. Public uncertainty and misinformation regarding the health risks of GMO consumption Uncertainty regarding the risks of GM O consumption was perhaps most important factor in the Zambian aid rejection. This uncertainty stemmed from a lack of capacity in even the general public up to date wi th developments in agricultural biotechnology. At the time of the 2002 rejection, there were no serious awareness campaigns in the country to inform stakeholders about this new technology; even at the university level, there were
80 no courses in agricultural biotechnology or even genetic engineering (Chinsembu and Kambikambi 2001). Because of the lack of formal, government sanctioned research in Zambia at the time of the rejection, the general public was essentially on its own in deciding which of the numerou s conflicting accounts on GMO safety was most reliable. While the Zambian media stepped in to fill the gap, many journalists similarly lacked access to reliable information and were thus prone to bias and polemics. Mwananyanda Lewanika (NISIR) described th e situation as such : The public did not have knowledge about GMOs, and everyone took advantage of the lack of information in order to push their own side. The media, NGOs, the government, ow could the public know what to think when there was so much conflictin negative health effects. Opponents of the rejection frequently cited the fact that GM foods are widespread in the American marketplace and have thus been eaten daily by American consumers for years, without any reported cases of GMO caused illness. Trade representative Robert Zoellick pointed out that millions of dollars are sp ent yearly on GM product research and referenced statements from the World Health Organization (WHO) 14 and other international bodies attesting to the safety of eating GM foods. m a supplied food to live in Africa because people have invented dangers about 14 en states in arket have passed risk assessments and are not likely to present risks for human health. In addition, no effects on human health have been shown as a result of the consumption of such foods by the general population in the countries where they have been ap proved.
81 in that it is implicitly based on the assumption that safety assessments regarding GMOs are universally applicable, regardless of context. The Zambian response and risk evaluation meanwhile was highly context specific. Zambians were unconvinced by US claims rega rding the safety of GMO consumption because of the differences between the US and the Zambian natural environment, health milieu, and especially diet. The fact that the food aid was mostly comprise d of corn (an intentional attempt to ensure that the aid wa s culturally suitable) exacerbated these differences. Corn is the base of the Zambian diet, comprising up to 80% of caloric intake. It is consumed as a main dish in virtually all meals, usually as a every road intersection. Given its ubiquity in the Zambian diet, there was particular concern about the potential health implications of consuming large quantities of GM corn. Zambians pointed out that most GM corn was us ed as animal feed, rather than for human consumption. Many felt that the variety (i.e. in processed foods) and amount of corn which was daily intake, and thus, that US centric safety assessmen ts of GM food would underestimate Zambian risks. An editorial in the Times of Zambia written at the time of Zambian diets]? Do Americans eat nshima? They may have corn flake s for breakfast, or Zambians were also concerned that the risks of GMO consumption could be intensified in a population where large numbers of people have suppressed immune systems due to
82 AIDS epidemics; more than one in every seven adults in Zambia is living with HIV (the rate is up to 25% of the population in some urban areas). Given the fact that a widespread technique in g enetic engineering involves the use of antibiotic resistance genes as a marker of genetic transformation 15 Zambian health authorities were immediately concerned that consuming GM foods could exacerbate the already weakened immune systems of HIV/AIDS infect ed persons. and ultimately, the food aid rejection was a problem of inadequate developing world centric research on biotechnology. To date, few studies concerned with the health effects of GMO consumption have focused on the developing world, and no major scientific studies have examined the potential for added risk resulting from HIV/AIDS. Such factors were and have continued to be overlooked by US actors because of their inapplicability to the US context, hence t he surprise and frustration of these actors when seemingly authoritative safety assessments and policy makers was in many ways a positive effort, it was ultimately too little and too late in the rejection process to alter public perception. Regardless of the validity of because the issues which underlie them have not received sufficien t scientific scrutiny. 15 Specifically, antibiotics are inserted in to distinguish and "sel ect" b e tween regular and effectively transformed cells There are fears that bacteria could absorb marker genes from transgenic plants. T his could eventually result in antibiotic resistant pathogens. It should be noted here that while this practice is quite controversial, the actual risk of antibiotic gene transfer to bacteria is very, very low (Fernandez Cornejo, 2006).
83 The threat which GMOs posed to small scale farming in Zambia rejection differ fr om the explanation offered by the US ( that Zambia feared accepting restrictive Europe ) Paarlberg et al (2006) conduct perhaps the most rigorous assessment of th e trade losse African Centre for Technology Studies. The study examines and compares export and trade data from several countr ies in the Common Market for Eas tern and Southern Africa (COMESA) zone 16 and assesses the magnitude of potential exports losses were they to accept biotech commodities. The study case scenario (w because mo st of their agricultural exports (e.g. ornamental flowers, coffee, tea, sugar, banana, cocoa, oil palm, or groundnuts) are crops for which GM varieties either do not yet exist, or are not yet being planted anywhere commercially. The data they present sugge sts that even in the worst case scenario, total agricultural exports would shrink by less than 10% in all six study countries, and that in a more likely scenario exports would 16 There are ninetee n countries in the COMESA zone, stretching from Libya to Zimbabwe, but this study only examines the markets of six members: Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia. These six countries were selected because they are the only COMESA members inc luded in the Regional Approach to Biotechnology Policy in Eastern and Southern Africa ( RABESA ), the institution which initiated this study. RABESA is a two year project designed to generate and analyze technical info rmation needed to inform regional biotec hnolo gy and biosafety policy choices
84 shrink in all study countries except Egypt by significantly less than 1% (Paarlb erg et al 2006). Deeper analysis of the Zambian agricultural sector sheds light on the more Zambia's food is grown by small scale farmers. Small scale farming stands in obvi ous contrast to the industrialized model utilized throughout the US, and Zambian farmers worried that accepting GM food aid would result in an irreversible transition towards industrial agriculture, ultimately threatening the viability of their domestic fa rming system. There are obvious disparities between the small scale agricultural model and the typical biotech crop growing system. While small scale farming involves farms slightly sold), 8 out of 10 small scale farms are less than five acres in size, and sales of produce take place almost exclusively in local markets (rather than internationally). Further, most small nd have scarce access to natural resources let alone or chemical inputs, including pesticides and fertilizers. Biotechnology meanwhile has been associated with an industrial model of agriculture, including substantial research investments, large plots of land, international commercialization, and sophisticated mechanization. In an interview with Lovemore Simwanda, head of the Zambian National Farmers Union (ZNFU) concerns for the scale farms were clearly articulated. adulteration of the Zambian farming system. It is important for the government to feed its people, but the long term effects that GMOs would have on small scale farming must be
85 In t he interview, Simwanda cited a widespread agricultural concern small scale farmers informal seed sec tor. This concern stems from the fact that biotechnology companies exert strong patent rights over their seeds. F armers who purchase Monsanto seeds must sign a contract agreeing that they will not use the purchased seeds for more than one growing season or save any seeds from the season's crop; farmers who are Monsanto customers must purchas e new Monsanto seeds every year The company takes patent infringement very se riously, often through a ggressive legal action; since the 1990s, Monsanto has prosecuted do zens of farmers who have used their patented products without a license I n addition to annual audits by Monsanto employees, the company enforces this policy by encouraging people who suspect patent infringement to call a toll free number to report their c laims. According to Simwanda, informal seed saving and seed exchange supplies upwards of three quarters of the planting seed used in Zambia, along with many other Zambian agriculturalists, were perplexed by what they saw as a Rights of a company? Farmers will ha ve to buy GM seed every year and it will become an offence to replant your own GM seed. The farmer may be prosecuted if she or he does so. But farmers have traditionally kept and traded their seed with neighbors for replanting for long centuries. Why shoul d Zambian farmers now lose this fundamental right as a consequence of the actions of profit seeking companies? The [ZNFU] is concerned that small scale farmers could become dependent on multinational companies who own the technology. The situation raised i ssues of long term productivity and food sovereignty for small scale farmers and Zambia. Thus, while economic concerns were an important part of the aid rejection, they lity with Zambian small scale farming than from concerns over European exports. The economic concerns
86 raised by Zambian small scale farmers bring up perplexing questions about the interaction between biotechnology patents and long term food security. Ultim ately, a s discussed in the previous chapter, the significance of lost Zambian exports to Europe was deliberately exaggerated, an effective tool in undermining the EU moratorium on GMOs. icantly downplayed, obscuring the more valid reasons for the aid rejection. Christian nation. In addition to health and socio economic concerns regarding GMOs, the technology has been contentious because of the religious and ethical considerations which it raises. The prevalence and importance of Christianity in Zambia and the ethical and moral values associated with it was morally unacceptable. In December 1991, newly elec ted President Chiluba, Christian declared Za mbia a Christian nation. The Declaration was subsequently accorded constitutional status, included in the Preamble in 1996. In his announcement of the decision, Chiluba stated: The Bible, which is the word of God, abounds with proof that a nation is blesse d, the people of Zambia, I repent of our wicked ways of idolatry, witchcraft, the occult, immorality, injustice and corruption. I pray for the healing, restoration, revival blessing and prosperity for Zambia. On behalf of the nation, I have now entered into a covenant Lordship of Jesus Christ. I further declare that Zambia is a Christian Nat ion that will seek to be governed by the righteous principles of the Word of God. Righteousness and justice
87 must prevail in all levels of authority, and then we shall see the right eousness of God exalting Zambia (quoted in Phiri 2003, p. 407). The decisio n to become a Christian nation, while not without its opponents, was generally accepted by most Zambians, the vast majority of whom are practicing status encouraged th e integration of principles from all denominations of Christianity, including Protestantism and Catholicism (Phiri 2003). Christianity and churches have a substantial history of influencing politics in Zambia; Gifford has highlighted the role of religious organizations and churches in Zambia's change of regime, showing how the first president of Zambia, Kenneth Kaunda, used the platform of Christianity to advance his na tion was not a shift towards a more religious mode of governance so much as it was an official and public indication of the importance which religion already played in Given the interplay between religion and politics in Zam bia, there were essentially two strains of ethical thought stemming from Christianity which came to play in the 2002 food aid rejection. These strains of thought are largely based on the Catholic lating to matters dealing with the collective welfare of humanity. Firstly, there is the concept that Man must be a good applicable line of thi nking is thus that GMOs are a hubristic attempt by man to control and ultimately, exploit revolved around concern for the poorest and most vulnerable members of society. Religious opponents to
88 GMOs in Zambia were perplexed by what they described as corporate control over biotechnology, arguing (as has been argued earlier in this thesis) that the technology would not benefit or empower the poorest membe rs of society, and might even risk their exclusion. Many Christian organizations argued that biotechnology would not truly help the poor because it would not address the underlying distributive causes of poverty, further, they argued that the manner in whi ch GMOs were being introduced into the country (as food aid) limited the autonomy and consequently the power of the most vulnerable Zambians. A 2001 poll by t ethical or religious views can si gnificantly affect the way they think about biotechnology and GMOs. When asked specifically about their own religious or moral views in regards to agricultural biotechnology, a majority of Christians (Protestants, born again Christians and Catholics) say t hey are opposed to moving genes from one species or organism to put into another, the poll found. Overall, 57% of Protestants (62% of Evangelicals) oppose the technology based on their religious or ethical views while 37% are in favor; Catholics followed c losely behind with 52% opposed and 42% in favor ( The Pew Initiative on Food and Biotechnology 2001) While it should be noted that certain religious authorities (including the Pope) have since argued that biotechnology should be approached and researched w ith caution rather than broadly condemned, it is obvious that religious considerations are an important component of opposition to biotechnology. In Zambia, the fact that a sizeable number of influential food aid and anti poverty GMOs were Christian affil iated further complicated the food aid scenario. Christian NGOs in Africa emerge from a history of missionaries who provided economic
89 development services during the colonial era. Before NGOs, missionaries were at the forefront of offering agricultural ass istance, education, and self help programs for Africans where colonial states did not (Bornstein 2002). In many ways, faith based NGOs in Zambia occupy a similar social space as missionaries of earlier eras, offering welfare and social services in the abse nce of state capacity to do so. Similarly, figures from the Church frequently function as local community leaders, often exerting substantial influence in the realm of economic development and political decision making. In her extensive analysis of the wor k of two important Christian NGOs in southern Africa (the paper specifically focuses on the work of World Vision and Christian Care in Zimbabwe) Erica Bornstein finds that, in the regional context, economic development is a religious act for many key actor s. Bornstein finds that religious faith frames development practice in the work of these NGOs, both in the administrative offices where development is conceived and managed, and at rural project sites where development takes place (Bornstein 2002). Bornste in describes development writing: whether in relation to God or technological improvement. The development work of World Vision a 2002, p. 9). While not explicitly related, such integration has obvious implications for Christian NGOs working in Zambia (and in many cases they were), the very nature of the economic development work carried out by these NGOs promotes the adoption of a Christian moral framework; one which happens to conflict with notable aspects of biotechnology. The incompatibility of biotechnology and Christianity led many Zambians
90 to see an incompatibility between biotechnology and development This incompatibility would ultimately reinforce many existing concerns about GMO introduction. The lack of a national b iosafety regulatory framework and the question of sovereignty accepting GMOs. Yet to a large extent, the same concerns and risks apply to the other countries involved in the 20 02 aid scenario, considering similarities in terms of their agricultural sector and food security context. Why then did Zambia eventually stand alone in its ultimate rejection of GM food aid? Why did Zambia refuse to accept even milled aid, as Zimbabwe and Malawi eventually did? Illustrating again the importance of a contextually aware and nuanced understanding of the aid rejection, t his divergence may be explained by variation amongst the countries in terms of their familiarity with and d omestic d evelopmen t of biotechnology and biosafety regulations. As a result of the alleged risks of the technology, as well as the intense debate and controversy surrounding its development and use, it is important for countries to engage in policy formati on regarding the r egulation of biotechnology and GMOs As discussed, the US and most European countries have made substantial progress toward this end, establishing legislation and standards on bi otechnology as early as the mid 1980s. Again however, many developing countri es are only beginning to appreciate the myriad issues stemming from biotechnology dissemination, and are only now beginning to formulate appropriate legislation in the form of national biosafety frameworks (NBFs). NBFs are systems of legal, technical, and administrative mechanisms that are established to address safety in the research, development, use and marketing of GMOs. While there are
91 substantial differences between NBFs on a country to country basis, the title places an inherent emphasis on risk (bio safety adherence to the precautionary approach. At the time of the 2002 food aid scenario, both Zimbabwe and Malawi had at least some form of NBF. Zimbabwe had a legally binding biosafety system with regulations and guidelines, implemented by a Biosafety Board and secretariat of senior scientists. balance of evidence and the presentation of scientific facts. The Biosafety Board chair notes approved of two GMO field planting trials in 2001, for GM cotton and maize, making it one of the only countries on the continent to do so. Malawi, while not as advanced as Zimbabwe in terms of biosafety legislation at the time of the 2002 food aid scenario, still has legally binding legislation on biosafety, including licensing procedures for GMOs and a n ational biosafety committee which approves or rejects the import of GMOs. Under its NBF legislation, Malawi has approved the import of GM corn from the US (Mayet 2004). the e stablished gui delines for GMO regulation were critical in making a decision once the situation arose. Both Zimbabwe and Malawi quickly created interim committees on GM food aid, made up of scientists and policy makers who had taken part in the drafting of committees within their Ministries of Environment to come up with interim legislation on
92 biosafety. Like Malawi, Swaziland and Mozambique have already approved the import of GM maize via trade (under the condition that it be milled before distribution) and thus had some familiarity with the unique considerations which accompany the introduction of GMOs. Zambia meanwhile had no legislation regarding GMOs at the time of the 2002 food aid scenario. Though the country had previously imported GMOs via trade and food aid, because of a lack of funding, scientific expertise and political will, no official policy on GMOs had been drafted. Unlike its neighbors, who would eventually accept the aid in its original or milled form, Zambia had no framework to turn to in terms of making government level decisions on the import of GMOs, and decided that rejecting the aid was a more responsible course of action than adopting a hastily concei ved policy. Lovemore Simwanda described the reasoning quite clearly in a 2004 interview with BBC News: e other way around, we need to know what the technology is, and then have the capacity to handle the technology, have the infrastructure in place, have the legal framework and policies in ted in Black 2004). Mwananyanda Lewanika who again, played a key consultative role in the government decision to reject the GM food aid no scientific consensus on GMOs. T he first concern is that Zambia does not have a biosafety fr amework that would ach of the several policy makers which I interviewed in my December 2008 research trip to Zambia cited the lack of an NBF as a main reason for the aid rejection.
93 It must be noted that the decision to reject GMOs until an appropriate NBF was formed was also linked to a sense of national pride and sovereignty. As with many African countries, Zambia is still acutely aware of its colonial history, and its independence fro m Britain (achieved in 1964) remains a source of immense pride. Despite the influences of globalization and the subsequent proliferation of influential institutions both above and below the national level (i.e. NGOs and Intergovernmental Organizations, or IGOs, like the UN), Zambia continues to give legislative preeminence to traditional nation state farming and food security. National political dominance over farm ing is conspicuous throughout Africa; even in weak states where national governance institutions lack key resources, they still tend to be stronger than alternative institutions within the food and farm sectors (Paarlberg 2002). M any Zambians felt that a N BF was necessary to provide the country with a legal basis on which to protect its sovereignty; an NBF allowed rather than allowing outside actors or institutions make such decisions There was much rhetoric from the government and NGOs which supported that claim that the WFP and September 6 th 2002 issue of the Times of Zambia emphasizes this point; the letter, written by the African Civil Society Group (which is comprised of NGO representatives from 45 African countries) states: people in rejecting genetical ly engineered contaminated food for our starving brothers and sisters. We refuse to be used as the dumping ground for contaminated food, rejected reliance within Africa against cou ntries, which aim to control our agricultural systems, through
94 It is clear that the lack of a framework for regulating the use of GMOs in Zambia had straightforward implications for the GM food aid scenario, magnifying the aforementioned risks of GMOs .Unlike its neighbors, the state of biosafety legislation in Zambia at the time of the 2002 food aid scenario was essentially nonexistent, making a precautionary approach even more appea ling. Further, when outside actors (the US and WFP) pressured Zambia to accept a controversial technology in the absence of a national framework for its use, sensitive historical issues relating to colonialism were raised, making national sovereignty anoth Conclusion Clearly, there were numerous issues behind the Zambian decision to reject GM food aid, yet little recognition of these diverse issues has been provided in the literature on GM food aid. The fa ilure of US policy makers to understand the contextual rational e of decision making process es would ultimately exacerbate the crisis, undermining the capacity of governments and relief agenci es to establish more appropriate, acceptable, and direct The strategic insistence that trade it also discounted important and pr oblematic aspects of GMOs in general. The issues raised by Zambian activists and policy makers addressed fundamental faults in the modus operandi of the biotechnology industry and the development of GM crops, especially concerning their application to the s framing of the Zambian
95 aid rejection as a purely economic issue effectively inhibited critical debate over the use of GMOs as a tool for addressing food insecurity.
96 C hapter 4: Policy Recomm endations for US Food Aid Just as US food aid developed as a response to the policy environment of domestic agriculture after WWII, so has it evolved in response to the rise of agricultural biotechnology. As with earlier food aid policy, this evolution co the largest and most important food aid donor, this degree of strategic donor interest is problematic The US food aid program must undergo renewed critical evaluation, updating the scholarly and political criticism of the 1980s and 1990s. The following policy recommendations for US food aid are crucial ste ps towards ensuring both the legitimacy and the effectiveness of US international assistance. Comply with existing international biosafety agreements Given the broad acceptance of biotechnology by US soy and maize growers, and given the fact that GM cro ps are unsegregated in food processing, it was inevitable that a large portion of US food aid would be GM under the current in kind system. Aid agencies ought to have appreciated by the mid 1990s that a large portion of food aid was likely to have at least some GM content, yet most food aid agencies including the WFP failed to do so. Neither the USAID nor WFP drafted an official statement on GM food aid until mid 2002 when the issue attracted international media attention (Clapp 2005).
97 The best approac h towards ensuring the effective and equitable donation of food aid containing GM commodities is to comply with policies exist. Additionally, the US should look towards the consensus of international biosafety agre ements, wh ich state that all countries have the sovereign right to determine acceptance or rejection of GMOs While such agreements may not have been available at the time of the rejection crisis in southern African in 2002, several such frameworks have since been r atified. In particular, the US should support the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety, which governs trade in GMOs. The rules of the protocol state that GMOs intended for release into the environment (which would include seeds in unmilled food aid grains) ar e subject to a formal advanced informed agreement procedure with the importing country (Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety 2003, Article 7). In line with the protocol, importing countries can reject shipments of GMOs based on their own risk assessment. These stipulations would undoubtedly have made the southern African aid rejection a much simpler and less protracted event; it is likely that they may have even prevented it in the first place. The protocol only applies to those countries that have signed and r atified the agreement. Since the US has not yet ratified the protocol, it is thus not bound by its rules. If the US is truly committed to ensuring the fair distribution of agricultural deed, doing so may have some strategic value, providing the US biotech industry with the public relations boost it so clearly desires.
98 Similarly, if the US and the biotechnology industry truly mean what they say about empowering the developing world through agricultural biotechnology, several changes in the modus operandi of the industry must occur. US scientific facilities and the biotech industry should increase su pport for public research on the creation of GM crops which may benefit consumers (particularly in the developing world). Additionally, US aid agencies should engage in impartial capacity building efforts towards the establishment of national biosafety fra meworks in developing countries. Regarding the first reform, t he vast majority of biotech research and almost all of the commercialization of genetically engineered crops has been carried out by private firms based in industrialized countries. The dominan ce of the private sector in biotechnology research has made it difficult for poor farmers to benefit from biotechnology because it is either not available or too expensive. The development of golden rice represented a step in the right direction in that it involved free licensing and collaborative research, but more steps towards this end can and must be taken. Public private partnerships in biotechnology should be encouraged; such partnerships offer the resources of private firms but tend to focus on the p roblems of the poor. Additionally, these partnerships should work towards the creation of crops which have greater applications for food security in developing countries. Traits like herbicide tolerance are less useful for developing world farmers who typi cally have limited access to chemical inputs in the first place; instead, research should focus on improving the nutritional content of subsistence crops, and improving their ability to grow in difficult environments (such as those prone to drought and sal inity). However, researchers must be
99 careful not to replicate the failures of golden rice. That project, while laudable and ambitious, suffered from the unrealistic expectations promoted by corporations eager to capitalize on the public relations value of the product. Agricultural biotechnology holds definite promise to address some of the problems facing food security and development in the upcoming century, yet it is not a silver bullet. Regarding the second reform, t he US must engage in impartial technic al assistance to design biotechnology regulatory systems in developing countries. Biotechnology regulatory frameworks are critical for the safe and equitable dissemination of GMOs in a country, yet recent data shows that such frameworks are sorely inadequa te or nonexistent throughout most of the developing world ( Fernandez Cornejo 2006 ). It is important to note that the development of a national biosafety framework goes beyond the creation of a document. It inevitably encompasses wider issues about the role of biotechnology and requires ongoing participation in biosafety processes after regulations have been developed. The process itself calls for commitment and the creation of an appropriate environment to access participatory mechanisms, capacity building, information dissemination, and strategies for involvement of all stakeholders. The US has the legal, political, technological and material resources necessary to aid in the facilitation of these much needed frameworks, and it is beginning to engage in tec hnical assistance activities towards this end. Impartiality is critical however. Each country operates in a different context, and so must each biosafety framework; technical assistance must be suited to the best interests of the recipient country rather t han the interests of the donor. Capacity building should not be used as a strategy to influence developing countries into adopting US centric policies.
100 End USDA jurisdiction over food aid programs and transition towards a mostly cash based system of local procurement Food aid should not be used to enable a donor to establish an unfair commercial promote export market development for US goods, PL 480 should finally sever its administra tive and bureaucratic ties to the agency. As long as the USDA holds jurisdiction over components of food aid (Title I and Food for Progress), the program will be inconsistent with its humanitarian motivations. Evidence shows that food aid actually has no measurable effect either as a strategy to promote the development of export markets or as a price support mechanism (Barrett 1999). Indeed, only a handful of highly organized special interest groups truly profit from these aims of food aid, and they are la rgely responsible for the static nature of food aid reform. Tying food aid to domestic agricultural priorities also reduces the cost effectiveness of the program, driving up the prices of commodity procurement and encouraging other inefficiencies. The high ly controversial nature of biotechnology and GMOs compounds many of the problems facing this already contentious resource. It is unacceptable for a program with the potential to benefit so many to be undermined for the benefit of so few. Additionally, US f ood aid should transition towards a cash based system. Moving huge amounts of food across huge distances is hardly ever an efficient or effective use of resources in an emergency, although exceptional circumstances may make it necessary on occasion. In mos t situations, sourcing food aid near the region where the food is needed
101 offers the most promising results for a cost and time effective intervention; it also offers additional benefits through enhancing local opportunities for economic development. Perha ps the biggest issues with the current procurement system stem from a lack of flexibility. Ensuring that food aid is not tied to donor restrictions on domestic sourcing, processing, or shipping is crucial for food aid to be an effective resource in a diver se range of complex scenarios. Cash also allows for a wider and more appropriate range of food choices for those facing food shortages. By obtaining food from local markets, it is more likely that food aid will meet the preferences and cultural circumstanc es of its recipients. This facet of the issue has obvious relevance given the proliferation of GMOs in US agriculture. Starving populations in the developing world should not be forced to make undeniably complex choices as to what to eat, and the US should not jeopardize the standing of its aid programs by making them do so. For its own legitimacy, US food aid should not undergo another trying experience like the Zambian aid rejection. Change the parameters of the debate over GMOs American policy makers h ave tended to take the position that European skepticism about GM foods from the US is motivated at a deeper level by a desire to protect European producers from US competition ( Hanrahan 2007 ). While this is likely to some degree (indeed, it becomes eviden t from some of the anti globalization rhetoric associated with GMOs), the moratorium was due in part to differing US and EU scientific perspectives. In order to have a truly effective debate regarding the development and use of biotechnology, these perspec tives must finally acknowledge one another.
102 Europeans are much more wary of food production than Americans due to a number of widespread food safety crises which emerged throughout the continent in the 1990s. It is helpful to remember that one such crisis, an outbreak of Bovine spongiform encephalopathy (more commonly known as BSE or mad cow disease ), emerged in the United Kingdom not long before the commercial introduction of the first GM crops. While European food safety authorities first insisted that the disease could not be transmitted to humans through BSE infected animals, it later became evident that this was an incorrect assessment; several people became seriously ill and panic spread throughout the European public. This outbreak, coupled with rec urring cases of foot and mouth disease as well as a highly publicized 1999 case of dioxin contamination from Belgian eggs, have generated persistent consumer concerns. They have also led to a waning faith in regulatory agencies according to the Pew Cha ritable Trust Initiative on Food and Biotechnology (Hanrahan 2007). The Pew survey points out that these crises have not been caused by GM foods, but that they underscore mind the need for stronger and more precautionary food s afety regulations (Hanrahan 2007). Thus, for the European public GM opposition was and is not necessarily about established scientific risks but rather about precaution in the face of unknown risks, a fact which US regulatory and trade agencies repeatedly ignore. Further, the third chapter of this thesis illustrates the complex and highly contextual factors responsible for responses to biotechnology. The US must recognize that a wide variety of issues ranging from dietary trends to historical and religious backgrounds can contribute to either acceptance or rejection of GMOs. As long as US actors continue to imply that biotechnology acceptance amongst US consumers is an
103 adequate basis for global acceptance of the technology, misunderstandings and ensuing con troversies are likely to persist. competing scientific approaches have the tendency to ignore one another, so do the opponents in the larger debate over biotechnology. Anti GMO activists assert that US regulat ory agencies ignore the socio economic concerns arising from biotechnology, while US regulatory agencies point out that activists ignore the rigorous testing undertaken to demonstrate the health and environmental safety of GMOs. Terms such as do little to promote meaningful discussion, but neither does ignoring the faults or risks associated with GMOs ; i f the technology is ever to rise above the persistent debate that has dogged its development thus far, a more harmonious and holistic view of both the risks and benefits of GMOs must be developed.
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