Friday, June 11, 2010

US rice causes people in Haiti to starve---Is that an overstatement?

Predictable...Pay generous subsidies to US Rice growers which encourages over-production.--US buys the surplus (producer gets paid twice)---bag up the rice and send it as food aid to various parts of the world, EVEN if that country has rice producing capabilities---depress the local price of rice---local rice producers go out of business---now they need to get free rice to feed their families...(Repeat with Corn, Wheat, etc)...Rich countries don't REALLY want developing countries to be self-sufficient, do they?  Why not BUY local as much as possible?  Is it really that difficult to ask that question FIRST before making a big aid decision?  I understand the initial response, but consideration has to be taken in making sure local markets are not adversely affected by the good intentions (MARKETS MATTER!!).  It just makes rebuilding that much more difficult.  The US government is not the only culprit. Other donor countries that "subsidize and buy" are just as guilty.  Many NGO's do the same thing.  

Tons of subsidized U.S. rice hurt Haitian farms
POND-SONDE, Haiti – Haiti’s rice farmers are dismayed. It’s nearly harvest time in this fertile valley where the bulk of Haiti’s food is grown, and they’re competing once again with cheap U.S. imported rice.
Just down the road, vendors are undercutting them, selling the far less expensive grain. Subsidized U.S. rice has flooded Haiti for decades. Now, after the Jan. 12 quake, 15,000 metric tons of donated U.S. rice have arrived.  “I can’t make any money off my rice with all the foreign rice there is now,” said Renan Reynold, a 37-year-old farmer who makes an average of about $600 a year. “If I can’t make any money, I can’t feed my family.”Read rest of story.
HT: (MV=PQ: A Resource for Economic Educators)
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