Just as Israelis are increasingly questioning the utility of continued U.S. aid to their country (on which, the September 1995 issue of the MEQ), so too are Egyptians. In a Cairese journal called The Left, Aryan Nasif calculates that the aid has totalled $19 billion since 1975, of which $3 billion have gone for agriculture and food, then lists its many negative consequences. Nasif's long article goes into considerable detail; to make the following document easier to read, we leave out ellipses.
1. Reduced acreage cultivated with food and strategic crops: One condition attached to this aid is the "policy of exporting so as to import." This means increased acreage cultivated with export crops at the expense of food and conventional crops. Since this policy was adopted in the early 1980s, the crop structure needed for national food security has collapsed and the food gap has widened.
2. A big and constant rise in the cost of agricultural production requirements: The fact that this aid has been tied to meeting World Bank conditions, which demand that subsidies for these requirements be abolished and that requirements be left to the private sector to handle, has led to this fearful increase.
3. Dissolution of the Central Cooperative Agricultural Federation and liquidation of the cooperatives' role.
4. A much greater balance of trade deficit favoring the United States.
5. Prejudicing the Egyptian village's relative social stability through the promulgation of Law No. 96 of 1992, which goes to extremes in amending agricultural tenancy relations.
6. Endeavors to dissuade Egypt from narrowing the food gap: U.S. AID sees expansion of the wheat-cultivated acreage as an undermining of the economic reform policies and a deviation from the conclusions of joint studies.
7. Denial of Egyptian financing resources to Egyptian agriculture: Adoption of the World Bank and U.S. AID policies has ended the Agricultural Credit Bank's role as a financier of the agricultural process and of farmers. These policies have also caused the bank's financial conditions to deteriorate, turning it into a bank indebted by a half billion [Egyptian] pounds.
8. Declining productivity of Egyptian crops and concerted promotion of U.S. crops: As a result of U.S. research on cotton strains, the (Albima?) strain of cotton seed was introduced two seasons ago. Its cultivation resulted either in extensive proliferation of cotton diseases or in extremely low production per feddan.
9. The attempt to dominate Egyptian agricultural philosophy: The National Agricultural Research and Policy Project [NARPP] is a 10-year project that works scientifically through 16, 000 local delegates, including 6,000 researchers. A large number of these people have been sent to the United States and Israel. Through this project, U.S. AID has gotten nearly 25,000 scientific studies covering all theoretical and practical aspects of the Egyptian agricultural issue. If we add to this the field survey that is conducted by U.S. experts -- and only God knows the extent of their expertise -- through their tours of the country under the cover of dozens of projects in lower and upper Egypt, then we would realize the threat that is posed by all U.S. AID activities in Egypt.
10. The endeavor to exploit aid for direct political pressure: I do not believe that it is necessary to dwell at length on this issue, not for fear of the new press law but for a simple reason, namely that the donors of this aid and their thinkers do not consider this a matter to be concealed. Rather, they talk about it openly and very frankly. The U.S. mutual security law states explicitly that no economic or technical aid may be granted to any country unless it strengthens U.S. security.
Do we have to endure this? The preliminary answer is no. Our resources, if exploited with our own will, are enough for us.
Al-Yasar, June 1995, in FBIS Aug. 30, 1995