Great answer! Might I add one comment? Organic farmers, just like chemical
farmers, get a very small portion of the consumer's dollars. Organic costs the
consumer more because of price gouging by those in the middle.
And I have a question. Why does everyone blame farmers when prices go up? I use
as an example the price that hog farmers get versus the price of pork in the
stores- less than it costs to raise pigs and the price to consumers hasn't
dropped. OK, another one- Cotton farmers are getting the same price for their
cotton as they did in 1930. Yet the price of a cotton shirt is 10 times more.
Ronald Nigh wrote:
> Edna ponders:
> >"Free trade causes the prices
> >farmers receive to drop through the floor", said Rosset," driving them
> >into bankruptcy by the millions." Such low prices mean only the largest
> >can survive, according to the study.
> > What did I miss here? If small farms are more efficient, then
> >why does a drop in prices cause the small ones to go bankrupt while the
> >largest survive?
> > This reminds me of the paradox that "organic" food supposedly
> >costs less to produce yet costs more in the store. The only plausible
> >explanation I've heard is the cost of certification, but this won't apply
> >to the above discussion about small farms being more efficient but going
> >bankrupt before the largest ones when prices drop.
> >Regards, Edna
> What is not explicit in Peter's comment is why 'free trade causes prices to
> drop.' This sounds a little misleading. Real free trade does cause prices
> to drop and would still give 'market' rewards to more efficient small
> farmers. The problem is what passes for 'free trade' in the context of
> things like NAFTA and WTO are really tremendous subsidies for transnational
> corportations that, among other things, allow them to dump cheap
> commodities on local markets and run small farmers out of business, no
> matter how efficient they are. The politics of 'free trade' stacks the
> rules of the game to subsisdize corporations' transactions costs. This
> happens in a myriad of ways such as sanitations rules that favor highly
> capitalized operations, environmental regulations that allow huge
> ecological costs to be externalized, patents that only corporations with
> full-time legal departments can afford to enforce, etc., etc.
> As for organics, its the farmer and the consumer who are paying the costs
> of organic transition and the restoration of soils deteriorated by
> industrial agriculture. I.e. organic agriculture is internalizing the
> environmental costs of decades of conventional agriculture. That, along
> with a strong demand for organic products (growing 20%+ per year) keeps
> prices up. In the long run, however, lower production and environemental
> costs should be reflected in cheaper (and better) food, with no need for
> hidden subsidies. We just have to keep working on it.
> Regards to all,
> Ronald Nigh
> Dana, A.C.
> Mexico, D.F. & San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas
> Tel. y FAX 525-666-73-66 (DF)
> 529-678-72-15 (Chiapas)
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