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Yes I did read it.

I'm not convinced, yet.

Examination of the sources (published 1986-2003) of the article reveals their analysis is based on what may be termed 'the previous regime.'  "Previous" is used to indicate the global food system may be - unclear at this point - shifting to a new equilibrium.  

Their analysis, thus their proposed solution, is spot-on for the system as it existed from 1963-2004 (say.)  Subsidized grain from the First World was removed from the consumer grain markets of the First World and dumped into the Third World.  This effectively, as Professors Mazoyer and Roudart state, "... small farmers in the developing countries have had to face competition of food staples coming from international markets at ever-lower prices.  As a consequence, they also have had to sell their output at ever-lower prices." [Page 4]

But we're not in that situation as of this writing.  

Over the past several years the coarse grain harvests have been stabilizing  yet the consumption of coarse grains have increased leading to a draw down of the world's grain reserves from 180 day supply (1995 - IIRC) to a 54 day supply (Apr 2008.)  Concurrently, the price of coarse grains have sharply increased over the past year.  As the prices have increased the economic basis of Professor's Mazoyer and Roudart argument has changed.

It is no longer the peasant farmers who are bearing the brunt of First World policies, their selling prices are increasing.  It is the urban population of the developing world who are bearing the burden: they cannot afford to buy food at the current global market price.  Worse, food prices are now reaching levels such that, as was reported yesterday (no cite,) the Philippine government can no longer afford to purchase food for its population at current prices.

Facing too high, from their inhabitants ability to pay, prices certain food producing nations, such as Indonesia and Turkestan, have imposed export restrictions to privilege internal demand to avoid unrest.  Worse, 'unique' government policies (the US in particular)  the source of the former (?) "grain glut" are reducing exports.  Climatic factors, e.g., drought in Australia, is lowering their wheat harvest.  Together these are lowering the amount of coarse grains offered on the global market.

In this climate the establishment of regional areas, protected by economic regulations to restrict movement of coarse grains is madness.  It would tend to eliminate shipment of grains from surplus areas to deficit areas.  

Exactly the wrong action to take.  

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Mon Apr 21st, 2008 at 10:19:05 AM EST
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