Farmers in El Salvador are protesting against a multimillion-dollar grant from a US aid agency that would force the country to open its seed market to international companies.
Last month, farmers protested outside the US embassy in the capital, San Salvador, amid concerns about conditions attached to a grant from the Millennium Corporation Challenge (MCC), an agency established by Congress under the Bush administration a decade ago. El Salvador has been awarded a $277m (£161m) grant to improve its “competitiveness and productivity in international markets” on condition that the country opens its markets to competition, which would undermine the current system.
The US ambassador to the country, Mari Carmen Aponte, has denounced El Salvador’s failure to comply with the conditions attached to the new tranche of money, which led to the protests. Environmentalists and public health experts have also expressed concerned over the conditions.
Between 2007 and 2012, El Salvador received $461m from the MCC to improve transportation, agriculture and education in the north. The region was subjected to some of the worst massacres and scorched-earth operations during the civil war by US-trained armed forces. A similar model to the MCC is being promoted by the G8 in Africa under the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition initiative, which has led to a raft of pro-agribusiness policy changes in 10 African countries.
Read the full, original article: US leans on El Salvador to open up its seed market