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
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.