Food and water

spr2007_first_full_harvestFreedom to farm

An article on the situation in Mexico on street vendors said:

(The DDF), has recently finished one of the most politically sensitive operations of the sexenio of Salinas de Gortari: the relocation of approximately 10,000 ambulatory vendors (street vendors) from the streets of the Historical Center into almost 40 market buildings. The process has been long and difficult.

In Miami, similar things are going on:

Seven years after a failed attempt to pass a law banning street vendors and beggars from the city’s largest roads, North Miami Beach is trying to do it again. The last time council members tried to pass the law, dozens of representatives from newspaper street-side vendor The Homeless Voice protested the move, causing the measure to fail.

Earlier this month, the council voted 4-2 to give initial approval to the newly proposed restrictions. But opponents still countered the measure, accusing the city of preventing collection of funds for charitable causes and questioning whether it violated the First Amendment.

The American story involved the crackdown on panhandlers, defined here, with advice on how to go about becoming one.

Now it doesn’t take too much imagination to move from the definition of a beggar on the street to those who eke out a living this way and then on to the street vendor and busker who provides a service for the money. I should have thought the latter would be fairly easy to define.

In Russia, local government cracks down on these people, the street vendors and tries to herd them into central “rinoki” or markets where who sells what is regulated and charged at high rentals. This is not dissimilar to the UK “concessions” scam where certain vendors are favoured.

The trouble in Russia is that these people on the street are usually grandmothers [occasionally grandfathers] and they sell things people actually want. They tend to congregate in lines along the street and if you’re, say, coming back from work or you need some cottage cheese, you go downstairs with a jar and buy it from one of them. In a cold climate, food spoilage is not such a big issue.

Every few weeks, a council officer, on his way to work in his Mercedes, decides that this riff-raff must be cleared form the streets. The council officers and/or police are sent and they disappear, only to reappear some weeks later. They’re tolerated if the central markets are fully frequented but if profits dip, the cull happens again. And so it goes on – often the culling is on a matter of principle or a fit of pique.

In a country without such a tradition, e.g. the UK, where the markets now sell things you don’t need, open at 9 and close at 5, stallholders paying enormous rentals for the privilege, food is now bought at Sainsbury’s, Tescos or ASDA, say. Interesting that a former head of Tescos, Véronique Morali, is a pure European globalist and the destructive power behind Force Femmes.

So in the UK, food control is total and in the hands of the multinationals. You can’t set up a market garden or grow sufficient for your needs, land is zoned and controlled and thus the UK population is programmed for scarcity, not far removed from the African situation although those in the UK like to think they are a First World country.

They should remember that the plug can be artificially pulled whenever it is politically expedient. Has anyone read of the food parcels from the colonies during the last war?

street vendors

The issue of the control of the food and water supply was addressed in Spiegel:

Food import anxiety is also spawning an entirely new genre of trade agreements as food-importing countries seek to buy or lease large blocks of land to farm in other countries. Libya, which imports close to 90 percent of its grain and is understandably anxious about access to supplies, has leased 250,000 acres of land in Ukraine to grow wheat for its own people in exchange for access to one of its oil fields. Egypt is seeking similar land acquisition in Ukraine in exchange for access to its natural gas.

China has the most ambitious “farming abroad” goals of all: In 2007 the country signed a memorandum of understanding to farm 2.5 million acres in the Philippines, an area equal to roughly 10 percent of that country’s farmland. But this agreement, quietly entered into by government officials, was later abandoned by Manila as rice supplies tightened and as local farmers voiced concern. China is now looking for long-term leases of land in other countries, including Australia, Russia, and Brazil.


Spiegel continues:

Aquifer depletion poses a particularly serious threat to China and India where between roughly 80 and 60 percent, respectively, of the grain harvest comes from irrigated land. This compares with only 20 percent in the United States. Most aquifers can be replenished. When they are depleted, the pumping is necessarily reduced to the rate of recharge. Fossil aquifers, however, are not replenishable: For these, depletion brings pumping to an end. Farmers who lose their irrigation water can return to lower-yield dryland farming if rainfall permits, but in more arid regions, such as the southwestern United States or the Middle East, it can mean the end of agriculture altogether.

If China turns to the world market for massive quantities of grain, as it recently has done for soybeans, it will undoubtedly look to the United States, which dominates world grain exports. For US consumers, the prospect of competing for the US grain harvest with 1.3 billion Chinese consumers with fast-rising incomes is a nightmare scenario. It would be tempting for the United States to restrict exports, but this is not an option with China which now holds well over one trillion US dollars. Like it or not, US consumers will share their grain with Chinese consumers regardless of how high food prices rise.

GPF reports that the EU is one of the prime movers in the impoverishment:

“Farmers in countries of the South cannot compete with subsidised agricultural products from Europe,” said Thilo Bode, director of the German non-government organisation Foodwatch.

“The subsidies the EU pays to farmers in France, Germany, Britain, Spain and elsewhere cheapen European food production in such a way that small farmers in say, Senegal, can no longer exist.”

Bode said the EU, the U.S. and other industrialised countries pay their farmers a billion dollars a day in subsidies. “These very same countries have forced developing countries through international organisations to eliminate their customs duties and their trade barriers, constraining them to import subsidised food.”

The economic consequences of such policies are increasing unemployment and poverty among farmers in Africa, Asia and Latin America, Bode said. This leads on to food scarcity because farmers lose the means to grow more, he told IPS.

The EU channels more than 50 billion dollars a year to its farmers in subsidies under the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). These subsidies represent about 45 percent of the European Commission’s budget.

The CAP guarantees a minimum price to European farmers, imposes import tariffs and quotas on certain foods, and provides direct subsidy payment for cultivated land. Following an agreement in 2005, the CAP is due to be phased out by 2013.


Monsanto, Quantum and control

The James Bond film Quantum of Solace [art mirroring life or life mirroring art?] revolves around a nefarious organization controlling countries’ natural resources, e.g. water.   Now, again, one only has to think about the level of an organization with the capacity to bring down governments and negotiate with the CIA to turn a blind eye.  It’s going to be a bit more, one would think, than one conglomerate headed up by Dominic Green.

In fact, it is global in scope.  Do you know about the Codex Alimentarius?  Wiki:

The Codex Alimentarius (Latin for “food code” or “food book”) is a collections of internationally recognized standards, codes of practice, guidelines and other recommendations relating to foods, food production and food safety.  Its name derives from the Codex Alimentarius Austriacus.

Its texts are developed and maintained by the Codex Alimentarius Commission, a body that was established in 1963 by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO).

The problem with this seemingly innocuous code, as with other global-reach legislation of this nature, is:

It is a mandatory standard for food – including vitamin and mineral supplement – safety. One of the main causes of concern is that the Codex Alimentarius is recognized by the World Trade Organization as an international reference standard for the resolution of disputes concerning food safety and consumer protection.

In practical terms:

In 1996 the German delegation put forward a proposal that no herb, vitamin or mineral should be sold for preventive or therapeutic reasons, and that supplements should be reclassified as drugs.

There are countless examples of the Codex in operation.

Hybrids and doomsday seeds

Hybrid seeds are an effective means of control:

One vital aspect of hybrid seeds was their lack of reproductive capacity. Hybrids had a built in protection against multiplication. Unlike normal open pollinated species whose seed gave yields similar to its parents, the yield of the seed borne by hybrid plants was significantly lower than that of the first generation.

That declining yield characteristic of hybrids meant farmers must normally buy seed every year in order to obtain high yields. Moreover, the lower yield of the second generation eliminated the trade in seed that was often done by seed producers without the breeder’s authorization. It prevented the redistribution of the commercial crop seed by middlemen.

If the large multinational seed companies were able to control the parental seed lines in house, no competitor or farmer would be able to produce the hybrid. The global concentration of hybrid seed patents into a handful of giant seed companies, led by DuPont’s Pioneer Hi-Bred and Monsanto’s Dekalb laid the ground for the later GMO seed revolution.

Read the whole article.


The Human Development Report stated:

Across much of the developing world, unclean water is an immeasurably greater threat to human security than violent conflicts, said a UN report entitled Beyond Scarcity: Power, Poverty and the Global Water Crisis. Yet unlike wars and natural disasters, this global crisis does not galvanize concerted international actions.

An old article of mine lists some factors in the water issue.

Bear in mind

And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. [Revelations 13:17]

Just saying, that’s all.

4 comments for “Food and water

  1. Mo
    February 19, 2010 at 10:03

    Thanks for that, an interesting read.

  2. Danielle Nierenberg
    February 19, 2010 at 21:23

    Want to flag (feel free to re-post) an opinion-editorial I co-wrote visiting the World Vegetable Center in Arusha, Tanzania with their director Abdou Tenkouano published today in the Kansas City Star. I am currently in Madagascar, traveling across Africa for the Worldwatch Insitute and blogging everyday on a site called “Nourishing the Planet” []. I pasted the article below. All the best, Danielle Nierenberg (

    Cultivating food security in Africa
    Kansas City Star

    By Danielle Nierenberg and Abdou Tenkouano

    As hunger and drought spread across Africa, a huge effort is underway to increase yields of staple crops, such as maize, wheat, cassava, and rice.

    While these crops are important for food security, providing much-needed calories, they don’t provide much protein, vitamin A, thiamin, niacin, and other important vitamins and micronutrients—or taste. Yet, none of the staple crops would be palatable without vegetables.

    Vegetables are less risk-prone to drought than staple crops that stay in the field for longer periods. Because vegetables typically have a shorter growing time, they can maximize scarce water supplies and soil nutrients better than crops such as maize, which need a lot of water and fertilizer.

    Unfortunately, no country in Africa has a big focus on vegetable production. But that’s where AVRDC – The World Vegetable Center steps in. Since the 1990s, the Asian Vegetable Research and Development Center (based in Taiwan) has been working in Africa, with offices in Tanzania, Mali, Cameroon, and Madagascar, to breed cultivars that best suit farmers’ needs.

    By listening to farmers and including them in breeding research, AVRDC – The World Vegetable Center is building a sustainable seed system in sub-Saharan Africa. The Center does this by breeding a variety of vegetables with different traits—including resistance to disease and longer shelf life—and by bringing the farmers to the Regional Center in Arusha and to other offices across Africa to find out what exactly those farmers need in the field and at market.

    Babel Isack, a tomato farmer from Tanzania, is just one of many farmers who visits the Center, advising staff about which vegetable varieties would be best suited for his particular needs—including varieties that depend on fewer chemical sprays and have a longer shelf life.

    The Center works with farmers to not only grow vegetables, but also to process and cook them. Often, vegetables are cooked for so long that they lose most of their nutrients. To solve that problem, Mel Oluoch, a Liaison Officer with the Center’s Vegetable Breeding and Seed System Program (vBSS), works with women to improve the nutritional value of cooked foods by helping them develop shorter cooking times.

    “Eating is believing,” says Oluoch, who adds that when people find out how much better the food tastes—and how much less fuel and time it takes to cook—they don’t need much convincing about the alternative methods.

    Oluoch also trains both urban and rural farmers on seed production. “The sustainability of seed,” says Oluoch, “is not yet there in Africa.” In other words, farmers don’t have access to a reliable source of seed for indigenous vegetables, such as amaranth, spider plant, cowpea, okra, moringa, and other crops.

    Although many of these vegetables are typically thought of as weeds, not food, they are a vital source of nutrients for millions of people and can help alleviate hunger. Despite their value, these “weeds” are typically neglected on the international agricultural research agenda. As food prices continue to rise in Africa—in some countries food is 50-80 percent higher than in 2007—indigenous vegetables are becoming an integral part of home gardens.

    The hardiness and drought-tolerance of traditional vegetables become increasingly important as climate change becomes more evident.

    Many indigenous vegetables use less water than hybrid varieties and some are resistant to pests and disease, advantages that will command greater attention from farmers and policymakers, and make the work of AVRDC – The World Vegetable Center more urgent and necessary than ever before.

    Abdou Tenkouano is director of the Regional Center for Africa of AVRDC – The World Vegetable Center in Arusha, Tanzania. Danielle Nierenberg is a senior researcher at the Worldwatch Institute blogging daily from Africa at

  3. February 20, 2010 at 09:33

    Danielle, sorry it took so long but first time commenters are always in moderation, after which there is no restriction. Last night I’m afraid I dropped off to sleep and didn’t approve. Hence this morning.

    To profile Lester R. Brown, Danielle’s organization’s founder, a random google search

    of some names brings up:

    1997 CFR Membership Roster

    National Security Agents

    Lester was set up with Rockefeller money to promote Worldwatch. He is also the founder of the Earth Policy Institute, which has a global plan to save the earth.

    This ties Lester into this article:

    … which, when we throw “lester r brown seed banks norway Navdanya for the conservation of indigenous seeds monsanto rockefeller” into the search, come up with this:

    … which highlights the “social, ecological and spiritual communities, rural and urban.” So there is a spiritual aspect to this and the question is – which spirit?

    This series of endorsements:

    brings us to Gordon Davidson and Findhorn. Gordon is the chap who is friends with Maurice Strong and who said:

    The Shamballa force is in reality Life itself; and Life is a loving synthesis in action. We also used the Six Laws and Principles of the New Age to lead us towards creating a vision of how these principles might create patterns for the New Civilization humanity will be constructing over the next 2500 years.

    Closely involved in this is the Valdez principles:

    and the World Service Initiative:

    … which is treated here:

    and whose aims are:

    The purpose of the World Service Intergroup is to generate a focused, conscious and deliberate intergroup effort to specifically assist the Externalization of the Hierarchy and the Reappearance of the Christ.

    . . . One of our tasks is to recognize them [“hierarchy”], and assist them by preparing humanity for the imminent reappearance of the World Teacher. This World Teacher, or The Coming One is known by many different names in the various spiritual traditions: Christ; Maitreya; Messiah; Imam Mahdi etc. This reappearance will be preceded by a widespread opening of the heart of humanity, and a recognition of the inner teacher in each one of us, manifesting as a consciousness of love and service to all.

    This is not Jesus Christ, by the way but Maitreya, which brings us to Blavatsky, channelling and all the rest of that, Hitler’s Thule etc. In other words, as any Christian could tell you – satan himself.

    Here is Danielle herself:

    and she seems a nice enough person, possibly unaware of her connections and of what the money behind her is for or about the hybrid seedbanks, the CFR, Monsanto, Rockefeller, Davidson and so on.

    She’s just doing her job spreading the word about GM vege seeds and how to cultivate them – a commendable effort to help feed the world population and counter climate change, food shortages and aquifer depletion.

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