Responses to the Coup d'etat in Honduras on Sunday June 28, with special emphasis on producing English-language versions of commentaries by Honduran scholars and editorial writers and addressing the confusion encouraged by lack of basic knowledge about Honduras.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

While Nero Fiddles

Its all about the grain reserves. Honduras has grain reserves stored in silos in the country. The Director of the Honduran Institute for the Marketing of Agricultural Goods (IHMA), José Aristides Girón, says its in good shape, and that Honduras should sell it now to make room for the new harvest, which will be abundant. The Secretary of Industry and Commerce, Benjamín Bográn, is leading the "abundant harvest" message and urging Honduras to sell it now. We already blogged about it here.

It seems the Secretary of Agriculture and Cattle (SAG) may not have received the message about the overabundant harvests this year. Radio America reports that Arturo Galo, spokesperson for the Secretary of Agriculture and Cattle is forcasting significant losses in the basic grains sector because of El Niño conditions. He reports that bean growers in the departments of Yoro and Olancho have lost the entire crop due to drought. Drought has lead to significant reductions in the overall bean and corn harvests throughout the country. He advises people to be prepared for a shortage of basic grains.

Contrast this with a story in today's Tribuna, which says that the El Niño induced shortages will NOT affect Hondurans. The article admits that the drought has reduced harvests, but "authorities guarantee a solid supply in case of emergency." In an apparent contradiction of the laws of economics, Aristides Girón notes that grain prices are already low because "the market is saturated with grain." So why does he suggest that they should further saturate it with more grain, lowering prices even further?

He feels that the excess could be sold to Guatemala to feed its hungry, already suffering because of lost harvests, but ignores the comments of the President of Guatemala, that the problem isn't a grain shortage, it is that the people lost their crops and who need to buy food have no money to buy it at any price.

The Honduran weather service is forcasting El Niño conditions across much of Honduras for the coming year, and is forcasting crop losses for some parts of the country. COPECO, the Honduran group that handles disaster planning says the reserves are what will keep Honduras in good conditions during this drought! Jorge Solís, director of COPECO says that during a drought the pastures don't grow (so you have to feed the cattle grain) and the seeds dry out "but we are saved by the reserves, although we hope that in October it will rain, though in lesser, not in normal amounts."

So tell me again why they should flood the market with unneeded grain, lowering the prices that everyone will get for their harvest, just to buy back the national production to re-establish the national grain reserves?


TITO said...

It's all about controlling the market! The price is low already! Bográn, COHEP's executive director, is looking not to flood the market further lowering the price but to hoard the resources in order to control its price when the shortage hits. This is what happens when the private has offices in the public sector! It's about benefiting the monopoly not the people; they want to buy the resource while they are cheap!

Carina said...

The Archive feature rarely works on Honduran newspaper websites. If it did it would be possible to show that Honduras routinely sells massive amounts of grains to neighboring countries, often at about this time of year, too. This is not an anomaly. Last year it was often El Salvador that bought the foods, due to their production problems. The same criticisms were leveled last year, that since the food-hungry people lack money they probably cannot buy it. But, that didn't stop the deal from going through - and that deal was Zelaya Administration orchestrated. While certain foods are often needed by many in Honduras, people haven't the monies to buy them. In other words, even as the family food basket skyrockets last year, there was no shortage of food in Honduras, rather a shortage of money to buy food. Just like last year and countless other years, the government will sell the so-called surplus foods.

Nell said...

For the cold, hard cash.

Thanks for keeping our eyes on the money.

RAJ said...

Carina has been persistently offering comments that qualify as what I call "coup apologists", and they rarely provide anything worthwhile to the discussion, so they rarely appear here.

In this case, she allows us to reiterate what the point of our comments on the selling of the grain reserves is:

the original coverage in August showed that the sales were authorized against the advice of the experts in the government agencies with most knowledge of likely harvest and need. The latest reports also show that there is expert opinion being ignored by the de facto regime.

Carina thinks the point is to show that grain reserves have been sold off before. That is not relevant. What is relevant is that now, right now, there is disinformation being spread while a resource is being sold that present expert opinion says will be needed.