This reading was a great one that touched on a lot of things we have talked about before. The introduction went over a lot of information however, it reminded me how complicated the food industry is and how convoluted everything can be. For example, how all of these large agribusinesses are all intertwined to forward the same goals of making more money for them. The first chapter highlights what a lot of the big investors missed when trying to give African farmers what American farmers had received in the first “green revolution”. However, these investors left out major components that would have made these American interferences with African agriculture not a failure. Things such as irrigation in a climate where the rain is unpredictable would have made a difference. But chapter two shows that these green revolutions were not always major failures. The country of Malawi at first saw success with the use of subsidies but after a period of a few years that success declined and many of their citizens were left hungry. When looking deeper into the issue most of the farmers ran out of grain before the next season and then were left with little to no money as well. The more that the government of Malawi became tied with companies such as Monsanto, the more their production failed. When looking at the different seed types that are provided to the country, the OPVs are the safest option for the farmers because if the hybrid do not receive the right amount of fertilizer(which farmers do not even receive enough of), they fail. The part of the chapter when the author finds out that Monsanto bought the national seed company made complete sense. Because then they could control everything and make more profits for themselves. Later, other solutions were found such as local farmer co-ops and small scale irrigation. Along with a few other solutions, crop diversification had a major impact on the amount of people going hungry in Malawi. Theres is a lot to learn from Malawi, such as the farmers are not as “backward” as these major corporations had thought. And more importantly that this cultural mono-culture was not sustainable in a changing climate.
A very similar issue happened in Mexico under different circumstances. Again these corporate agribusinesses were trying to become a part of another country’s agriculture. With lowering corn prices for Mexican farmers due to NAFTA these corporations were attempting to introduce genetically modified corn into Mexico’s corn production. People knew this would change the quality of corn produced in the country. And this was a very real fear because of the fact that corn is an open-pollinated crop and so cross-breeding is common among crops. Along with this, the people would want to keep eating the corn that they had been since it is a large portion of their diet and did not want to find out if GM corn had any health effects. With GM crops the farmers have higher risks, that aren’t truly necessary to even take, with little rewards because they earn more from non GM crops. Just as the author stated, complex problems need complex solutions, which is probably why this section of this chapter seemed complicated to me. But the one thing that stood out is how Monsanto was promoting “food sovereignty” while most experts regarded them as a threat to that very idea. While many are still fighting these “Goliaths” they have been slowed down and lost multiple growing seasons due to legal action. despite this, GM crop genes have spread to most of the native plants and there is no reversing that damage to the native crops.