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Switch to Forum Live View Mexico's Food Production Drops
2 years ago  ::  May 24, 2012 - 11:03AM #11
TemplarS
Posts: 6,865

What I see is a lot of people jumping to conclusions.  The OP mentions drought as being the cause, not NAFTA.


To discuss this intelligently, I'd like to see a few more facts presented here.  


 

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2 years ago  ::  May 24, 2012 - 1:32PM #12
arielg
Posts: 9,116

May 24, 2012 -- 11:03AM, TemplarS wrote:


What I see is a lot of people jumping to conclusions.  The OP mentions drought as being the cause, not NAFTA.


To discuss this intelligently, I'd like to see a few more facts presented here.  


 




Maybe you should check more facts before jumping to the conclusion that people are jumping to conclusions.


The drought certainly makes things worse, but it is not the sole cause.


NAFTA’s Food (In)security Model


Something has gone terribly wrong. The nation that was slated for prosperity when it signed NAFTA has become an international example of severe structural problems in the food chain, from how it produces its food to what and how much (or how little) it consumes.


Mexican malnutrition has its roots in the way NAFTA and other neoliberal programs forced the nation to move away from producing its own basic foods to a "food security" model. "Food security" posits that a country is secure as long as it has sufficient income to import its food. It separates farm employment from food security and ignores unequal access to food within a country.


The idea of food security based on market access comes directly from the main argument behind NAFTA of "comparative advantage." Simply stated, economic efficiency dictates that each country should devote its productive capacity to what it does best and trade liberalization will guarantee access across borders.


Under the theory of comparative advantage, most of Mexico was deemed unfit to produce its staple food crop, corn, since its yields were way below the average for its northern neighbor and trade partner. Therefore, Mexico should turn to corn imports and devote its land to crops where it supposedly had a comparative advantage, such as counter-seasonal and tropical fruits and vegetables.


Sounds simple. Just pick up three million inefficient corn producers (and their families) and move them into manufacturing or assembly where their cheap labor constitutes a comparative advantage. The cultural and human consequences of declaring entire peasant and indigenous communities obsolete were not a concern in this equation.


Seventeen years after NAFTA, some two million farmers have been forced off their land by low prices and the dismantling of government supports. They did not find jobs in industry. Instead most of them became part of a mass exodus as the number of Mexican migrants to the United States rose to half a million a year. In the first few years of NAFTA, corn imports tripled and the producer price fell by half


---------------------------------


In post-NAFTA Mexico, 42 percent of the food consumed comes in from abroad. Before NAFTA, the country spent $1.8 billion dollars on food imports. It now spends a whopping $24 billion.



www.fpif.org/articles/nafta_is_starving_...




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2 years ago  ::  May 24, 2012 - 2:18PM #13
TemplarS
Posts: 6,865

Thanks for the info, Ariel.   I get that.


So what I still don't understand is- the more food Mexico grows itself- would it not be more sensitive to an internal drought?   In the limit, if it imported all its food, an internal drought would not effect it at all.


 


 

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2 years ago  ::  May 25, 2012 - 12:47AM #14
Roodog
Posts: 10,168

Not all famines are brought on by drought, Templar. The Famine in the Ukraine in the early 1930's was induced by the policies of Josef Stalin and the Communist Party to break the Ukrainian people. 


en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holodomor


www.holodomorct.org/


God forbid if such policies are surfacing in Mexico.

For those who have faith, no explanation is neccessary.
For those who have no faith, no explanation is possible.

St. Thomas Aquinas

If one turns his ear from hearing the Law, even his prayer is an abomination. Proverbs 28:9
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2 years ago  ::  May 29, 2012 - 10:10AM #15
TemplarS
Posts: 6,865

May 25, 2012 -- 12:47AM, Roodog wrote:


Not all famines are brought on by drought, Templar.


God forbid if such policies are surfacing in Mexico.






Understood.  But the article cited in the OP mentions "the worst drought in 71 years." Other sources I found back this up.


I do not doubt that other factors may have come into play here, but to blame this all on NAFTA does not seem to ring true to me. 

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2 years ago  ::  May 29, 2012 - 12:50PM #16
Roodog
Posts: 10,168

May 29, 2012 -- 10:10AM, TemplarS wrote:


May 25, 2012 -- 12:47AM, Roodog wrote:


Not all famines are brought on by drought, Templar.


God forbid if such policies are surfacing in Mexico.






Understood.  But the article cited in the OP mentions "the worst drought in 71 years." Other sources I found back this up.


I do not doubt that other factors may have come into play here, but to blame this all on NAFTA does not seem to ring true to me. 





I saw on History Channel that a shift in the climate caused the drought that led to the Dust Bowl and it will happen again. Now the stupid idiots in Congress want to build an oil pipeline across the Ogalala aquifer to refineries in Texas so they can make profit selling gas overseas. If the pipeline leaks and pollutes the aquifer, then the wheat belt has had it.


While the Rocky Mountain Locust is extinct for over a century, the Central American Locust is not. Biologists are concerned that northward expansion of this insect's range is a cause of concern to the US and, by implication, a concern of Mexico.

For those who have faith, no explanation is neccessary.
For those who have no faith, no explanation is possible.

St. Thomas Aquinas

If one turns his ear from hearing the Law, even his prayer is an abomination. Proverbs 28:9
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2 years ago  ::  May 29, 2012 - 1:23PM #17
TemplarS
Posts: 6,865

Roo, this is why the know-nothing politics of ignoring climate change amounts to playing with fire.  Sure, we do not know everything there is to know about the subject- but the downside could be very, very bad.  Do we really want to take that risk?


But, of course, free trade (I mean, really free trade, not free trade mostly benefitting big business) can mitigate this to some extent.  For all we know, Siberia will become the new wheat belt.  There have always been food importing as well as food exporting countries- Japan for one, which has not seemed to hurt them much.


 

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2 years ago  ::  May 29, 2012 - 3:05PM #18
arielg
Posts: 9,116

May 24, 2012 -- 2:18PM, TemplarS wrote:


Thanks for the info, Ariel.   I get that.


So what I still don't understand is- the more food Mexico grows itself- would it not be more sensitive to an internal drought?   In the limit, if it imported all its food, an internal drought would not effect it at all.


 




NAFTA did not encourage more Mexican food production. On the contrary, they grow less because it is cheaper to buy imported grains. They cannot compete with the US in agribusiness. 


 Most Mexicans were not affected by the drought. The ones who were affected  are a few indigenous groups that remain in their villages and are usually quite self sufficient living off their crops.  They depend on it more than the general population. That is why the drought did not affect the general popùlation very much.

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2 years ago  ::  May 29, 2012 - 6:58PM #19
Roodog
Posts: 10,168

May 29, 2012 -- 3:05PM, arielg wrote:


May 24, 2012 -- 2:18PM, TemplarS wrote:


Thanks for the info, Ariel.   I get that.


So what I still don't understand is- the more food Mexico grows itself- would it not be more sensitive to an internal drought?   In the limit, if it imported all its food, an internal drought would not effect it at all.


 




NAFTA did not encourage more Mexican food production. On the contrary, they grow less because it is cheaper to buy imported grains. They cannot compete with the US in agribusiness. 


 Most Mexicans were not affected by the drought. The ones who were affected  are a few indigenous groups that remain in their villages and are usually quite self sufficient living off their crops.  They depend on it more than the general population. That is why the drought did not affect the general popùlation very much.





Ariel,


The precipitous drop in US food production is not a matter of if but of when. The abuse of the soil in this country cannot go on forever, the water in the Ogalala Aquifer will not last forever. We cannot go on tearing up farmland to build houses that we can no longer afford. It will come back and bite this country in the behind with a vengeance. The attitude of consuming everything now and the devil take our children and grandchildren avails in this country.


If our agriculture fails who is going to feed the rest of the continent and the world?

For those who have faith, no explanation is neccessary.
For those who have no faith, no explanation is possible.

St. Thomas Aquinas

If one turns his ear from hearing the Law, even his prayer is an abomination. Proverbs 28:9
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2 years ago  ::  May 29, 2012 - 8:53PM #20
CharikIeia
Posts: 8,301

May 29, 2012 -- 6:58PM, Roodog wrote:


If our agriculture fails who is going to feed the rest of the continent and the world?



As was pointed out several times before on this thread (didn't you read that??), producers in other nations will be much more capable to grow & sell(!) their own food once they are not priced out of the market by US monoculture produce any more.

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