Color me surprised. NOT!

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In the back of my mind was the thought that the whole grain/fertilizer shortage was a result of predatory speculation and price fixing but this article in today's Wall Street Journal makes a few things very clear:
Grain Companies' Profits Soar As Global Food Crisis Mounts
At a time when parts of the world are facing food riots, Big Agriculture is dealing with a different sort of challenge: huge profits.

On Tuesday, grain-processing giant Archer-Daniels-Midland Co. said its fiscal third-quarter profits jumped 42%, including a sevenfold increase in net income in its unit that stores, transports and trades grains such as wheat and corn, as well as soybeans.

Monsanto Co., maker of seeds and herbicides, Deere & Co., which builds tractors, combines and sprayers, and fertilizer maker Mosaic Co. all reported similar windfalls in their latest quarters.

The robust profits are emerging against the backdrop of a food crisis some experts say is the worst in three decades. The secretary-general of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon, on Tuesday called for the creation of a high-level global task force to deal with the cascading impact of high grain prices and oil prices. He said that countries must do more to avert "social unrest on an unprecedented scale" and should contribute money to make up for the $755 million shortfall in funding for the World Food Program, which feeds the world's hungry.
On one hand, research into hybridization and better crop yields takes money but still, the amount of money these people are making is really (and I really want to insert a string of expletives here) egregious. Some of the United Nations agencies actually do good solid work and the World Food Program is one of them. For them to be $755 Mill. short when these corporations that serve as middlemen are seeing huge jumps in their profits is so unethical as to be damning their souls and to the souls of their shareholders. If these corporations wanted to be ethical (as well as do some really good damage control), they would each sign over $60Mill per year for five years to the World Food Program. And have some of their top lawyers go in and make darn sure that that cash actually went to the World Food Program -- that would be a keystone of the deal as I do not trust the General Assembly, the Security Council or any of the central plenary bodies at all...

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This page contains a single entry by DaveH published on April 30, 2008 10:59 PM.

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