Commodity chains

Another addition to the literature on the tyranny of global commodities: in Bitter Chocolate: Investigating the Dark Side of the World’s Most Seductive Sweet Carol Off “investigate(s) the unjust means by which the raw material has been, and continues to be, procured.” See it reviewed here. Haven’t read it, so will not pass judgement yet, but it doesn’t sound from the review (or indeed the title) like the book gives a very balanced assessment of the contribution of cacao to livelihoods in West Africa. But I am probably wrong – and I certainly hope I am.

Your health

Concidentally, two articles appeared today highlighting how modern diets are impacting the health of people in both the industrialized and the developing world, and what can be done about it. From the BBC, a report on a diabetes conference, where delegates are suggesting that this disease threatens the survival of indigenous peoples the world over. Then, from FoodNavigator, an article on how a nutrition group is planning a campaign to promote the Mediterranean diet in the US.

Famous Five

A seminar organized by the Nairobi Stock Exchange suggested that “sorghum, cassava, soy beans, palm oil and Jathropha curcas, are the five crops that will run agri-business this century.” Be afraid. Be very afraid.