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The basics

5 May 2010

What’s more basic than food?

While I would like to believe the Mex Files is “arguably LatAm’s best written blog“, there is no way I could have written as well, or in such depth, as Esther Buddenhagen (aka Buddenbrooks)’s  “From Xico” on the critical issue of Mexican (and human) life that affects all of us on the planet: who controls our food and fiber?

I live in Sinaloa, where we have been growing opium poppies since the 1880s, and commercial marijuana since the 1920s. Like the farmers in Veracruz, our farmers are at the mercy of businesses seeking a foreign consumer market, and — like the Veracruz coffee growers — are locked into a controlled market that leaves only two choices: emigrate, or become a pawn of the businesses controlling the market.

Like the palm oil growers, our growers are at the mercy of the fickleness of foreign political policies. Encouraged at one point (during World War II) to plant more opium poppies, and by steady demand for the commodity since the 1980s, returning to basic foodstuffs production is a radical — and, much more than in Veracruz, suicidal — decision.

And, being flooded with other “junk” from the north (firearms and bling, just for starters), made from the profits of our agriculture, the economic incentive for basic foodstuffs is being destroyed as surely as the sugar and corn growers here are being forced into pauperdom.

Sure, it’s more fun, and you get the kudos writing about the attention grabbers like migration, narcotics, violence, and political unrest — but we’re looking at the symptoms of a problem, and not the problem itself. And that, unarguably, is the more important thing to blog about.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. otto permalink
    5 May 2010 9:58 am

    i’m sticking by that call, RG

  2. 5 May 2010 10:15 am

    Wow, thanks, Richard! (It’s Buddenhagen, by the way. Buddenbooks was the name of my indexing business, now defunct due to retirement. Stuck with it for my email)

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