Cheap food causes hunger
From Austin Storm
Cheap food prices in the West can be a disaster for the grain farmers of Guatemala or Bangladesh. Cheap grain on the world markets means that many of the farmers who grow that grain will starve. The joke, Caparrós points out, is that the overproduction of food is actually contributing to hunger by pushing prices down. In the US, corn is now so inexpensive that most of it is not eaten as corn but rather processed to make more valuable commodities. American corn is fed to pigs for bacon, boiled up into tooth-rotting corn syrup, or turned into biofuel for cars. Meanwhile in Mexico, land of corn, from the 1990s farmers started to suffer because the US was exporting its own less nutritious corn at aggressively low prices. Around the same time, there was a huge influx of new ultra-processed foods and drinks into Mexico, intensively marketed by multinational food companies. By 2013, Mexico had become the country with the highest levels of obesity – including child obesity – in the world, overtaking the US.
- Bee Wilson reviews books on Cheap Food and its Consequences