"Nichts mehr davon, ich bitt euch. Zu essen gebt ihm, zu wohnen.
Habt ihr die Blöße bedeckt, gibt sich die Würde von selbst."
Friedrich Schiller
  June 2008 FOOD

AIG, other Hot Money Funds on a Buying Spree for Farmland, Crop Storage, and other Links in the Food Chain

The former trickle is now a deluge of hot money flows into buying up parts of the food chain internationally, given the shortages and speculative run-up in commodities prices. Calling it "owning structure," the hedge funds and other varieties of pooled money are buying up farmland, grain storage elevators, fertilizer sales outlets, and other key physical features of production. They are in league with Cargill, Louis Dreyfus, and other cartels. ('Structures of sin," was the name for such things by Pope John Paul II). Besides the means to hoard and control, these buy-ups qualify the owners as "producers," to participate on the Chicago and other exchanges. As of 1998, a small cartel of only four companies owned 60% of the U.S. elevator chains and port facilities (Cargill, ADM, Continental, and Bunge) and now the players are shifting even as the international consolidation is tightening. A few of the big names involved:

  • BlackRock Group, based in New York City and London, headed by former Undersecretary of the U.S. Treasury Department, Peter Fisher. BlackRock is in a three-fund syndicate to buy farmland in England, Sub-Saharan Africa, and elsewhere.

  • A division of Louis Dreyfus, Calyx Agro, is buying up thousands of hectares of cropland in Brazil, backed by AIG money and other funds.

  • Whitebox Advisers, a hedge fund based in Minneapolis, has acquired several grain elevators from Cargill and ConAgra, giving Whitebox the capacity to hold close to one million tons of grain.

  • Emergent Asset Management, based in London, has extensive plans for plantations in Sub-Saharan Africa.