Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Is the US presence a good thing for third world countries?

The US has always had a strong presence in the world. Whether in military or technology the US is almost always in the news. That’s why it is no surprise it’s also a leader in agriculture and the production of food. With the help of the Green Revolution, the US has been able to create new crops, produce more food per acre, and even create crops to grow in places that are not their normal growing grounds. With these new technologies, the US has helped to spread ideas and products around to countries that are in the need for help.

There are people who believe that this presence of the US is actually hurting these countries. According to World Hunger, the US is only helping the countries that can end up benefitting them. Africa is used many times in the book about the US coming to aid only to open new markets and expand their existing ones. I believe that these authors have actually over looked the good that the US has done. Yes, the US has looked to expand their markets, but they have also brought knowledge and modern agriculture to them. Volunteer farmers from the US have been brought to countries to help their people improve production, marketing, and distribution. Local farmers have also been taught how to regenerate degraded land, similar to what the US has done for Niger. Farmers were able to improve their sesame production from 158 pounds to 440 pounds per household.

I also believe that without the help of US or other leading powers, many of these third world countries would still be living in “the stone age”. Many villages or towns do not have the technologies to succeed in the modern world. Many small farmers are losing their farms due to their lack of knowledge of modern farming technologies. With the intervention of the US, these countries and towns have been introduced to new farming techniques, have been taught how to improve their crops and production, and have also been able to be players in the local markets.

I am curious to know what others think about the role the US has played in third world countries. Do you agree that the US is only trying to benefit themselves as the authors of World Hunger believe, or do you think the US has had (and still having) an important impact on the improvement of production in these countries?

Sites:

World Hunger

http://www.fas.usda.gov/food-aid.asp

2 comments:

  1. Provocative argument. Can you provide evidence to support your position? {For example, can you substantiate the claim that "Many small farmers are losing their farms due to their lack of knowledge of modern farming technologies.") You might also consider whether increasing sesame production has alleviated local hunger.

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  2. The increase in sesame seed production in Africa has helped farmers get fair prices for their crops. They are receiving more money than they would for other crops. The lead producers include Uganda, Nigeria, and Sudan where there are many people living in poverty. Governments have begun to intervene with the markets. Before, only "foreigners could determine the prices across the states" http://allafrica.com/stories/200901140261.html but now governments have made it to where they have the power.
    As to farmers losing their lands: they destroy their land because they do not know the effects certain products have. These farmers are unaware that if they give in to monoculture, they'll make the soil unfertile and be unable to continue farming. It is understandable that farmers are changing their crops and methods to be able to compete with the world and provide for their families, but they are really hurting themselves in the end. With the help of US and other countries with agriculture knowledge, they are able to show these farmers what they need to do and to inform them what can be the results. It will take time, but I feel that if we continue to help them out, they will eventually be able to support themselves and help people around them as we are.

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