Thursday, April 24, 2008

On the Agriculture Crisis

Yesterday was my 53rd birthday. J allowed me to play in the garden all day and then took me out to dinner at Hawk's in Granite Bay. Granite Bay is Sacramento's excuse for a rich suburb, but like all things in Sacramento, it's not all that rich. We're not talking Atherton on Beverly Hills here. Anyway we had the tasting menu and it was delicious, particularly the vegies and fish. J didn't expect to like the dessert, an ice cream sandwich with olive oil, but the combination really works and he scarfed the whole thing down. Today we're cleaning the carpets and tomorrow he'll be taking me to the Bay Area to shop for plants and clothes.

However, even with the week-long celebration of my birthday, I have been following the news, specifically the food shortages in some Third World countries. And I'm wondering whether this crisis hasn't been brought about by the food movers (Cargill, Castle and Cook etc.). You will recall that a scant two years ago farmers in Oaxaca and India were going out of business (and some in India were killing themselves) because food imports from the developed world were undercutting them. The food from the developed world was so much cheaper that the farmers could not actually stay in business at the prices consumers were paying for the cheap stuff from the US.

But now it turns out that we're facing shortages of rice, wheat and corn. Hmmm. Could these folks have been selling at below-market prices to drive the competition out of business? And just been remarkably successful, so successful that they drove enough farmers off the land to create shortages?

1 comment:

annot8 said...

OMG! Belated happy birthday wishes from all of us to you!