Reports on Farmers’ Suicides
Christian Aid Report
The damage done: Aid, death and dogma
Christian Aid Week report exposes the devastating impact unrestricted ‘free’ trade is having on poor communities in developing countries and calls on the British government to end its support for a ruthless orthodoxy that stretches back quarter of a century.
‘The Damage Done: Aid, Death and Dogma’ shows how:
• in India, unfettered liberalisation policies backed by the British government have led to a crisis in agriculture, spiralling rural debt and an epidemic of suicide among poor farmers. Shocking new research reveals that more than 4,000 farmers have killed themselves in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh since the ‘reforms’ of a hard-line liberalising regime, in part bankrolled by the UK government
• in Ghana democratic institutions have been subverted by the demands of doctrinaire free-market policies, where the International Monetary Fund (IMF), backed by the World Bank, effectively overturned a law to protect poor farmers
• in Jamaica increasing numbers of women have been driven to prostitution and drug smuggling by a continuing round of liberalisation that has wrecked their employment opportunities.
Labour’s election manifesto said that developing countries should no longer be forced to liberalise and privatise in order to receive aid. While applauding this policy ‘U’-turn, the report makes clear that liberalising principles still underpin development policy, particularly at the World Bank and IMF. Legislation is urgently required to turn Tony Blair’s rhetoric into reality.
Christian Aid calls upon the new British government to:
- amend the 2002 International Development Act to bar UK aid from being tied to policies of liberalisation or privatisation
- make public all its discussions with the World Bank and the IMF so that progress can be monitored
- clearly state that poor countries have the right to raise tariffs to protect their infant industries.
Download the report in sections
• Introduction (100kb PDF)
• A policy out of control: 25 years of pain (116kb PDF)
• India: fields of despair (273kb PDF)
• Ghana: democracy under attack (218kb PDF)
• Jamaica: sex, drugs and unemployment (267kb PDF)