Thursday, April 22, 2010


"In the early years of this century, abundant signs have already emerged that the policies of the 1970s intended to create food security have in fact created societal vulnerability. Wells must be dug constantly deeper, and well-water is becoming less pure. Geologists worry that a hard landing is ahead. Yemen's capital, Sana'a, may run out of water in five years; Jordan's capital, Amman, may have only 15 more years of water."

This is not true: the main problem is "the comparative advantage" approach to food production and the integration of countries in the global food system where most of the staples they could acquire cheaply originate(d) from subsidized grain and milk and meat mountains. The dry, but warm countries of the Arab world started producing export-oriented specialty off-season horticultural crops like flowers, oranges, strawberries or non-foods consumer products like qat. Here the comparative advantage was climate, and the lack of water was offset with imported well drilling and water pumping technologies. It is not food security that drove the shrinking of the water table, but capitalist, export driven agriculture.

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