Mexican Peasant Confederation Demands Government Buy Food Crops Directly from Farmers
The head of Mexico's largest peasant association,
Cruz Lopez Aguilar of the National Peasant Confederation (CNC),
has demanded that the government must immediately step in to buy
food crops directly from the producers. He denounced Cargill for
hoarding some 2 million tons of corn to speculate with the price,
while overall grain prices have already risen 40% so far in 2008.
Lopez had earlier warned about a "price tsunami" for food in
Mexico. In his latest remarks, reported in the May 12 El
Financiero, he warned that "the worst is yet to come; soon we are
going to face an extremely grave problem."
The same food shock front led National Autonomous University
(UNAM) economics professor Carlos Javier Cabrera Adame to demand
that emergency measures be taken to limit Mexican exports of
food, until domestic needs are first met. Cabrera reports that
47% of all Mexicans (some 50 million) live under the poverty
line, while 18% endure extreme poverty, or indigence. In the
rural sector, 24% are extremely poor.
Mexico has gone from being largely food self-sufficient, to
importing 35% of its food needs today. 9 million tons of food
were imported in 1995, he noted, while 19 million are imported
today. Over that same time period, private investment in
agriculture fell by 50%, while public investment fell by 95%.