Om Aham Mani Information Service

Society and Environment.

The Cash Crop Factor.

The Appalling Planetary Management of the Western Nations.

We are living in a world faced with mass hunger and a deepening land crisis.


Because of the appalling planetary management of the Western Nations, who have been entrusted by God, with the power and the glory to be the peaceful, loving, and advanced technological carers of this beautiful world.

What has happened?

Those entrusted with the energy, power, intellect and resources to be the Global Guardians have unfortunately followed the wrong spiritual pathways - the ego has taken a strong hold over them and thus the "grasping" mind of attachment and greed prevails. The techniques of repression and denial - propagated throughout the last few centuries of overt, so-called "Christian" dogma, do not work.

They only lead to further internal and thus external corruption - "as within, so without". They have only led to the lower self gaining a stronger grip of humanity. It is this very lower self that spiritual techniques aim at bringing under control and subordinating to the Higher Self. (Read: The Energy Enhancement Book, especially The Integration of The Chakras.) So there we go, repression and ignorance do not work, strike them from the spiritual path.

Because the lower self has institutionalised itself in the offices of government and commerce, the ample and abundant resources of the planet have come under the rule of Corruption and Greed.

The costly "escape" strategy of bringing ever more land under the plough will only worsen this crisis, and still barely feed our growing numbers if we carry on following non-sustainable economic and political policies. The planet is more than capable of producing enough for many times the current global population. It is only because of ignorant planetary management that we are faced with these problems today. Since the beginning to the twentieth century, critics of the capitalist and industrialist nations have been pointing out these obvious errors in International Governmental and Economic Policy - but have received little acknowledgement or real understanding from these huge management bodies, who are ruled by the behavioural patterns of the lower self.

The solution to our crop problems, lies not in how much land we have, but how we approach using it. Are we thinking about the future generations when we destroy top soil with pesticides? Or release genetically modified organisms (GMO's) untested into the environment? I think not. Big business, under the guidance of the lower self, has screwed it up and now we, the ordinary people, are expected to pay the price of ever increasing commodity prices. The least we might expect, is the acknowledgement from the multi-national companies that they have set things up purely to line their own pockets, but alas no, because such is the selfishness of the lower self. And we all have a lower self.

Any person who has contacted the higher self, who has evolved slightly, who has experienced any of the higher chakras of the human organism, will immediately see the folly of the life of the lower self. This folly is the delusion and pain of separateness, the belief that the universal consciousness is restricted to our body, and the living of a purely egocentric life. The lower self does not recognize the one, unified life in all apparent diversity. Any person, or organization of people, whose perception of life is restricted to that of the lower self, is mentally ill. They are not full, whole, integrated people. Their principles for living are not in harmony with the greater whole and therefore the resulting actions (karma) will bring pain and misery to themselves and to others.


The Cash Crops Trade: Bond or Bondage?

Cash crops can be wither boon or bane for developing countries. In some instances, they supply much impetus to the developing process, by bringing in crucial foreign-exchange earnings which lubricate emergent economies. But all too often, because the land could be better employed in growing food for hungry local people rather than non-essential commodities for foreigners, they tend to slow down the development process.

It is difficult for developing economies to break free from the cash crop bind. For most "Third World Nations", "going it alone" would be impossible: their domestic market is too small, their resource base too narrow. Unless they can trade in the world market place, they cannot purchase the tools and technology they need for "development" - of course, this development is generally a comparison with western industrialist nations. Those countries that have no mineral resources of their own must find the means to earn foreign exchange as best they can. Even if they prefer not to follow a Western model of development, those 'developing' countries that suffer increasing poverty and a deteriorating resource base need hard cash simply to purchase a more critical export from the developed world - this simply being grain.

Where does the answer lie?

First, the developing nations must get their priorities right. In too many Third World countries, agriculture is subordinated to urban development and industrialization. A selective cash-crop strategy can avoid heavy dependence on a single export commodity, and place more emphasis on efficient food production, a better share-out of farmlands, and fairer distribution of income. Secondly, international agencies can change their approach to aid and development within the agricultural sector. Although some Third World countries have inherited colonial cash-crop links, and others have entered the vicious cash crop circle by accident, all too many have been led there, even pushed there, by misconceived aid programmes. Not enough of these countries' leaders have the inclination, let alone the means, to reject aid that deflects their development strategies from their most urgent priority of feeding and housing their people.

Cash crops generate funds for the producer countries through their export value in the world marketplace. Broadly speaking, they fall into two categories: essential food crops, such as cereals and legumes, which are mainly produced in the North and traded all over the world; and less essential crops, such as coffee, cotton, chocolate, and tobacco, which are predominantly produced in the South for export to the North (reflecting colonial trading links). The map show trade flows of ten major cash crops. Some of the less essential crops command relatively high prices on world markets - for much of the time; and they generate more money than the land could produce through growing staple foods - for much of the time.

Click here to explore the full size map.

But the catch lies in the phrase "for much of the time". Commodity prices are fickle: when consumer demand soars, prices are good - whereupon many farmers are persuaded to go into the cash crop business, switching from growing food to growing non-essential items. When the global economy turns down again, prices crash and the farmer is left with a problem - tonnes and tonnes of useless produce.


A Streamlined Food Supply.

As international trade expands and the world's economy grows more integrated, so the food of rich-world citizens tends to reach them from a "global farm" via a "global supermarket". At most major food stores in the West. consumers purchase products from all over the world. Similarly, millions of Third World people, together with large numbers of Soviet citizens, consume grain from North America, Australia, and Argentina. True, only one-tenth of all food grown enters international trade. But we ran note a similar integrative pattern within individual countries, too, as agriculture gives way to "agribusiness".

There is much to be said for a commercial system that enables us to enjoy abundant and diversified products from remote croplands and to benefit from those farmers who produce most food cheapest.

We now produce sufficient food to feed the whole of Earth's human population, a feat that would have been impossible only 100 years ago. That we manage to feed such multitudes is due in part to giant enterprises that dominate our food system. These enterprises handle not only the sale of food; they often control the growing, processing, and distribution. A sound achievement, as long as it means a streamlined operation, with more, better, and cheaper food at the end of the line.

There lies the snag.

We face a situation in which the mega-corporations (For example, The World Financiers; IMF and the World Bank) are coming to wield virtual monopoly power over key sectors of the food trade. And their desire for more control over our food producing systems is expanding even further. Since 1970, a few giant petro-corporations have quietly taken over more than 400 small seed businesses; businesses that hitherto produced seeds with vast variety to suit diverse environments, tastes, and price ranges. By controIling the production of seeds, a petro-corporation can breed crops that need extra large dollops of synthetic fertilizer, pesticides, and other petroleum-based additives, regardless of more desirable trends for future agriculture (viz. away from reliance on fossil-fuel inputs).

What happens when the oil wells run dry?

The corporation answers that it will tackle those problems as they arise, but meanwhile it is a private profit-making concern, not a public charity.

Probably even more insidious in its ultimately detrimental impact on agriculture is the support provided by giant corporations to the "farmers lobby" in developed nations.

The Common Agricultural Policy of the EEC causes governments to pay out $14 billion a year to encourage farmers to produce butter mountains and milk lakes.

Similarly, American farmers are subsidized to the tune of around $40 billion a year.

One "solution" proposed for these grotesque surpluses is to turn the milk lakes into powdered milk, and feed it back to the cows that gave the milk in the first place! By contrast, the World Bank estimates that;

'...the sum required to supply Third World subsistence farmers with the means to lift themselves out of self-reinforcing poverty is only $8 billion a year.'

The global supermarket, dominated in part by giant corporations, is potentially a powerful medium that could serve us all. But much refinement on the part of governments, consumer organizations, and the like, is required if it is to serve the best needs of customers and stockholders alike.


Peanuts in the Sahel.

During their period of colonialism and two subsequent decades of independence, the Sahel countries have not given enough priority to growing food for local people. Instead, their emphasis has been on export crops such as cotton and peanuts. In Niger alone, the amount of land given over to peanut cultivation has tripled from 142,000 ha in 1954 to 432,000 ha in 1968, causing a large reduction in fallow land.

Consequently nomadic pastoralists, who traditionally used this land for grazing in the dry season, moved north to previously unsettled land with poor carrying capacity. (Land carrying capacity is a measure of how many people the soil / climate can permanently support when the land is planted with staple crops). Population pressures and inadequate farming practices have since combined to turn moderate-to-poor farmland into poor land, and poor land into useless land.

Thus, at a time of famine in the Sahel, bumper cash-crop exports have been recorded.

And as the real value of cash crops falls, the people who once ate what was grown on their own lands, rely increasingly on imported food crops from the North.

Click here to explore the full size global cash crops map.




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