Social Scientist. v 2, no. 14 (Sept 1973) p. 52.

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Science and Scientists in the Service of Imperialism

SCIENCE and Scientists have been described as instruments of develop* ment. Indeed, they are. But they can also be used as excellent instruments of underdevelopment and of neo-colonial exploitation. Science, as even Professor Myrdal has had to point out, in the context of increasing the production of food with new technology in underdeveloped countries, is powerless and barren, even dangerous without appropriate social reform.1

This observation has once again been amply borne out in the case of the promotion of the production and processing of soyabean in India.

For the last decade or so, with the 'science explosion5 in this country and with various 'experts^ coming and going, and with an increasing tempo of attention being focussed on the great problem of'protein malnutrition5 of our people, soyabean has been subtly and patiently promoted by foreign foundations and experts, and the agricultural universities backed by them.

That this work of several years has now been brought to fruition is proved by the reported decision2 of the Food Corporation of India (FCI) to set up a 'most modern5 Rs 2 crore soyabean-processing plant at Faridabad in Haryana, for which the most sophisticated machinery is to be imported.

The plant, the first of its kind in the country, would produce edible grade food products for protein fortification of children and nutritious food for expectant mothers. Besides, it would also produce soyabean oil to overcome the chronic shortage of oil and dried gum in the country. The plant would initially process 125 tonnes of soyabean a day, which would be doubled to 250 tonnes a day within a year. The UNICEF had shown keen interest in the plant and decided to give Rs 5 84 lakh worth of sophisticated machinery as a gift to the FCI. According to FCI expert, such processing plants now existed only in the USA, and lately Japan was doing something in this direction. The report ended by saying that soyabean contained 40 to 42 per cent protein and was the "best and cheapest source of vegetable protein55.

A few facts will make clear the reason for US imperialist^ interest and close involvement in this project. After a spectacular development over the last 25 years, soyabean today is the leading cash crop in the US and primary legume and oil seed in the world. The US is also the world ^ chief producer of soyabean, accounting in 1971 for 33 out of (he 44 million tonnes produced, or 75 per cent of the total world output. Though

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