“Ukraine’s agriculture could be a real gold mine.” – U.S.-Ukraine Business Council
The Harper government intervenes in Ukraine and provides troops, guns and “aid” under the pretext of opposing “Russian aggression.” Canadians should firmly reject this meddling in Ukraine’s affairs as they can no doubt extrapolate that the same process in the Ukraine is also being carried out by the imperialists in our country and elsewhere. In fact, while it is wrecking Canadian agriculture through neo-liberal globalization, secret trade deals such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and handing over the Canadian Wheat Board to U.S.-Saudi interests, CIDA is funding the plunder of the rich agricultural resources of Ukraine, as part of the U.S.-EU imperial project to subvert and annex that country. Well before the coup of February, 2014 CIDA had designated Ukraine as the one and only country in Europe as a strategic target of “aid.”
Canadians should be wary of illusions of the Trudeau Liberals, who are even more bellicose on Ukraine and were the ones to originally bind Canada to neo-liberal globalization. The Paul Martin Liberals were up the their necks in the 2004 “Orange Revolution,” which brought the open rule of the oligarchs to power. It merits attention that Trudeau’s spokesperson on Ukraine and chair of his council of economic advisers, Chrystia Freeland, is the grand-daughter of a Ukrainian Nazi collaborator (Mykhailo Chomiak, editor of Krakivs’ki visti [Cracow News] 1940-45), and sycophant of such billionaire oligarchs as Victor Pinchuk, for whom she moderates his annual Yalta European Strategy (YES).
LOUIS LANG, MLPC candidate in Pontiac, explains Harper’s “aid.” – TS
Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade, led a “trade development mission” to Ukraine at the end of January 2015. A press release from Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada explained, “This trip reinforces Canada’s commitment to supporting Ukraine in its pursuit of freedom, democracy and economic growth.”
During the trip, the Minister announced the Canadian government’s intention to financially support several economic initiatives in Ukraine’s agricultural sector including in the dairy industry, grain storage and other activities.
For instance, he committed to providing $19.7 million to promote the growth of small and medium-sized dairy businesses. The Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada backgrounder for this project explains that the funds do not go directly to any Ukrainian organization but to a Canadian company called Société de Cooperation pour le Développement International (SOCODEVI), which will be paid to “promote the growth of small and medium-sized dairy businesses.” According to its website, the company’s clients and partners” includes Cargill, which is heavily involved in Ukraine.
The backgrounder further elaborates that this project is intended to assist 10,000 dairy farmers in four of Ukraine’s most important dairy-producing regions. “The targeted farmers will form at least 24 larger membership-based cooperatives following Canadian best practices.” SOCODEVI’s role is to provide technical expertise and consulting services to build the dairy cooperatives by “facilitating dialogue between government and private sector partners to develop policies and programs that support the growth of dairy cooperatives and farms.”
Minister Fast announced that Canada would assist the Ukraine Grain Storage and Marketing Cooperative Project. Following the same model as in the dairy industry, Canada will provide $13.5 million over six years to a consortium of Canadian enterprises – SOCODEVI, The University of Sherbrooke and the Canadian Cooperative Association – “to address the limitations of small and medium-sized grain producers in Ukraine.” With this funding the Canadian enterprises will provide their expertise to Ukrainian farmers to “organize into effective service cooperatives, based on best Canadian practices, to gain access to financing needed to build grain storage and processing facilities.”
Another example of the Harper government’s hypocritical generosity was Minister Fast’s announcement that $18.8 million would be provided to Agriteam Canada to “assist Ukraine’s national and subnational governments to develop and implement transitional and long-term governance and economic reforms in a more inclusive and transparent way.”
The January 26 backgrounder sums up Canada’s latest financial support for Ukraine:
“Economic stabilization and growth is a key priority for Canadian support of Ukraine. With today’s announcement, the Government of Canada has contributed more than $315 million in assistance to Ukraine, which includes support for economic stabilization, democracy and human rights, humanitarian assistance and security. This also includes a $200-million bilateral loan in support of Ukraine’s economic, social and political stability during the period of transition.”
The information about Fast’s “trade and development mission” to Ukraine clearly shows the intention of the Harper Conservatives to put the foreign service assets of the government at the disposal of the imperialist plan to subordinate Ukraine to the global monopoly corporations the U.S. and Canada support. It helps these monopolies in their cut-throat competition with others as they strive to dominate the world market in their sectors.
In the case of Ukraine it is important to assess the role of the Canadian government in the context of the present when, besides the military intervention on behalf of the puppet regime in Ukraine, the European Union and the U.S. are working hand in hand in the takeover of Ukrainian agriculture.
A recent article in Inter Press News Service, dated January 27, 2015, entitled, “The US-EU Takeover Of Ukrainian Agriculture,” explains in great detail that with the intervention of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank since the ouster of former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich, the prime target is the Ukrainian agricultural sector in order to open it up for foreign private investment.
The article points out that IMF loans come with onerous conditions:
“The manoeuvring for control over the Ukraine’s agricultural system is a pivotal factor in the struggle that has been taking place over the last year in the greatest East-West confrontation since the Cold War.”
“For example, the foreign-driven agricultural reform roadmap provided to Ukraine includes facilitating the acquisition of agricultural land, cutting food and plant regulations and controls, and reducing corporate taxes and custom duties.”
What is at stake is undoubtedly one of Ukraine’s greatest resource, its enormous fields of rich black soil. Ukraine possesses 32 million hectares of arable land, which is the equivalent of one-third of the entire arable land in the European Union. It is the world’s third largest exporter of corn and fifth largest exporter of wheat.
With the full cooperation of the new government, the presence of foreign corporations in Ukrainian agriculture is growing quickly with more than 1.6 million hectares signed over to foreign companies. The article from Inter Press provides the following examples:
“Cargill is involved in the sale of pesticides, seeds and fertilisers and has recently expanded its agricultural investments to include grain storage, animal nutrition and a stake in UkrLandFarming, the largest agribusiness in the country.
“Similarly, Monsanto has been in Ukraine for years but has doubled the size of its team over the last three years. In March 2014, just weeks after Yanukovych was deposed, the company invested 140 million dollars in building a new seed plant.
“DuPont has also expanded its investments and announced in June 2013 that it too would be investing in a new seed plant in the country.”
Western monopoly corporations have also extended their control into infrastructure and shipping. Cargill, one of SOCODEVI’s partners, now owns at least four grain elevators and two sunflower seed processing plants used for the production of sunflower oil. In December 2013, the company bought a share in a grain terminal at the Black Sea port of Novorossiysk with a capacity of 3.5 million tons of grain per year.
It is in this context that Canada is rushing to Ukraine to offer “financial assistance” and wants to renew negotiations toward a Canada-Ukraine Free Trade Agreement. In the name of free markets, democracy and human rights, Canada is assisting monopoly corporations and the international financial oligarchy represented by the IMF and the World Bank to plunder the rich agricultural resources of Ukraine. The Harper Conservatives are shamelessly lining up to share the loot from this evil enterprise which is being organized to deprive the people of the right to control their own food supply and manage the economy for their own benefit. This is not assistance, it is plunder!
1. The SOCODEVI website states that the organization
“is a network of cooperatives and mutuals that share their technical expertise and knowledge with partners in developing countries with activities in agriculture, forestry and mining.” SOCODEVI’s 2013-2014 annual reports states in part: ”SOCODEVI is an organization that has an excellent grasp of the current changes. Our capacity for adaptation and innovation in delivering a better response to the needs of our partners in the field and to the requirements of our financial partners makes us an organization that today is even more dynamic, with recognized expertise, strong growth and innovative solutions for our partners.
“This year we have recorded strong growth in our portfolio of projects with numerous major contracts signed in early 2014 in Colombia, Liberia, Mali and, notably, in Ukraine. The positive results and evaluation of certain projects have led to renewals and new agreements in accordance with the procedures and standards set by each donor organization or financial partner.
“Among the changes that can be observed in international aid, the expanding role of direct foreign investment in developing countries deserves mention. It is now five times higher than official aid for development. The growing presence of private investors, both large and small, represents an opportunity, as well as a challenge. The creation of partnerships with private economic actors investing in economic development in the South and the creation of links to markets are essential levers for development. The establishment of this type of partnership to improve living conditions for communities is not new to SOCODEVI. We have already established various types of partnerships with coffee, cocoa and natural resource companies, either through connections with their supply chains or with their corporate social responsibility programs.”
Some of the “Financial Partners and Clients” listed on the SOCODEVI website include: the African Development Bank; Antamina (mining); Barrick Gold (mining); the Canadian International Development Agency; Cargill and many financial institutions and international insurance companies.
2. The website of the Canadian Cooperative Association (CCA) states that the organization “has over 40 years of experience designing and implementing projects to build sustainable livelihoods and reduce poverty in the sectors of Agriculture, Finance and Micro, small and medium enterprise development (MSME).”
Its Annual Report 2013-2014 states in part: ”The move of federal responsibility for co-operatives from Agriculture and Agri-food Canada to Industry Canada (IC) was completed in 2013, and the relationship between IC and the co-operative movement has been close and growing steadily. This move is of mutual benefit to both the federal government and the co-operative movement; it helps the government achieve some of its economic development goals and gives us a clear opportunity to better serve our members.”
3. The website of Agriteam Canada states in part:
“Corporate History ”Based in Calgary, Alberta, Agriteam Canada was established in 1986 by Robert Francis and has since designed and implemented more than 170 projects worldwide in sectors including health and population; gender equality; education and education reform; agriculture and agribusiness; community development; governance and public sector reform; private sector development; legal and judicial reform; corporate social responsibility; and environment.
”We participate in numerous consortia to implement international development projects. Current and past partners include Agra Monenco, the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, the Privy Council of Canada, the Government of Alberta, Health Canada, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, CARE Canada, World University Service of Canada, Partners in Rural Development, Bombardier, Centerra Gold and Continental Minerals.”