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Sunday, March 6, 2011

Dying in abundance - part 3

“Before narutio (or something, inaudible) we were growing , we were producing 97 % of the total (inaudible) We were importing only 3 % but now we are importing 47 %. “
When the food products became expensive, India, along with other countries, limited the exports, to feed the people.
“Our first responsibility is to our own people. So if the prices within the country begin to go up, we take all measures to ensure the stability of places within the country. So we very correctly put a ban on the export of rice for some time, so that the prices here stabilize. “
But the WTO responded with anger and blamed the country for harming the free trading.
“No I thought it was an utterly illogical decision . It was a very bad decision in a world where free trade is always trying to grow and the world is smaller and trade is becoming freer. I think that the process that India adopted is really quite illogical.”
Mr. Lespinage bets with food. He buys harvests of wheat and rice that don’t exist, but are about to exist in the future.
“You are not trading the actual cash physical grain, you are trading promises, for grain to be delivered a month or 6 months or 12 months or 18 months in the future. So you might be trading grain that actually exists, but you might be as well more often be trading grain that doesn’t even exist yet. So you are trading promises, and you trade em back and forth. And if you make a promise  to buy at a certain price at a certain time, you can cancel that by selling that same contract back into the market. And that is what happens with most contracts, they are never actually delivered upon. They are traded back and forth and cancel each other out .”
From all the amounts of wealth traded at the Chicago Grain Exchange Market, only 4 % will reach real recipients.
But let’s see how does this system work. We need a farmer to produce wheat. Then we need a purchaser. They agree on the amount of the wheat to be delivered and on its price and that the commodity will be ready in, say, 1 year. Then they sign a contract.
These futures, as they are called, can secure both parties from the risks, like bad weather conditions or the sudden changes of the prices, respectively.

“If you’re a farmer, you’re afraid the prices are going to fall. You can lack in the price months ahead of when you harvest, by selling here and get rid of the risk. You can do the same when you’re a food buyer or processor, like general mills or Kellogg’s, and you can lack in the price of the grain months ahead of when you actually need to buy it – so when you actually do need to buy it , prices are much higher and you bought it already at a much lower price.”
But these futures don’t stay as they are in the meantime. Speculators buy them and sell them. A contract may change hands tens of times until it expires. They can buy a contract for low priced wheat. If the prices rise, they make profit.

“We are transferring risk, the whole purpose of the exchange is to transfer risk from people that have it , farmers, and don’t want it – to people like myself , speculators, that take the risk because if you take a risk and your right you make money. Of course when you’re wrong , you loose money.”

Since 2006 there are some “big fish” on the Chicago Market. Now you can find managers of huge enterprises at the pits, people not interested in such an investment until recently.(Vandana Shiva – Pro-farmers activist)
“2 years ago , the financial markets which had been very greedy in lending money for mortgages in the united states, lost on the mortgage market. The supreme crisis as it was called led to a collapse in investments.”
The mortgage crisis made the speculators to pursuit new chances with the food market. They started buying huge amounts of futures at the Chicago Market. That boosted their prices.(Vandana Shiva – Pro-farmers activist)
“investors jumped out of real estate and housing, and jumped on the band wagon of primary commodities – food commodities .  Their money, and the monopoly control of agribusiness companies like cargill drove the prices upwards. “

“I totally disagree with that kind of talk, I , speculators are not behind the big rise in prices . Speculation has very very little to do with it.”

“when bubble brakes, liquid gets splashed all over the place, and yes there is not a question there was some correlative selling.
I don’t doubt for a moment that speculators move grain prices. Do I think that they move grain prices by a 100 % , no I think that speculators probably move the grain prices by 20- 15 %”
“prices would have gone up anyway, because of the weather problems, and the weak dollar, and the export bands, and tight world stacks. That’s why prices went up.”

(Vandana Shiva – Pro-farmers activist)
“The hunger, that has become permanent and globally. Is totally a creation of the global food system. The global food system is not created to feed the people of the world. It’s created to maximize the profits for Monsanto , for seeds of Cargill , for trade , for selling pesticides , herbicides , fertilizer . In the period of 2007-2008 while food prices doubled – the profits of these companies also doubled. So if you want to understand why prices are going up, why people are eating less, you just have to look at these companies.”
(showing a Cargill’s commercial about a healthy dietary supplement for healthy joints, saying “this is how Cargill works with customers. Showing total hypocricy. 07:47)
“In this time of transformation there is 1 company who have solely focused on agriculture , 1 company who’s success depends on yours , 1 company taking its future on the future of agriculture , that company is Monsanto.”
(Vandana Shiva – Pro-farmers activist)
“95 % of genetically modified seeds sold today is controlled by Monsanto. Monsanto is buying up every seed company of the world. Cargill controls about 70 % of staple food trade in the world and they would like to control 100%. And they would like a situation where the prayer that sais “give us this day our daily bread “ is a prayer not to go to the creator, but is a prayer to Cargill and Monsanto. “
The American Monsanto is the biggest producer of genetically mutated seeds worldwide today. It began as a small chemical company. It supplied the US Army with the “orange agent”, the notorious chemical that was used in Vietnam and led to desertification, cancer and teratogenicities, still evident today.
In 2002 the company was licensed by the Indian government to sell a mutated cotton seed, the cotton BT, genetically engineered to kill the pests.

(Monsanto spokesperson)
“We have been able to develop a technology , a BT cotton technology where we produce seed that has inbuilt protection to pests, thereby helping farmers to almost double their cotton production, reduce the number of pesticides they have been using in the field to control to pests, and generally increasing their average income. The 6 years after the introduction of BT cotton , India has become the worlds 2nd largest producer , and the 2nd largest exporter in 6 years of introduction of BT cotton.”

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