Protein Imperialism

Ulhas Joglekar ulhasj at
Thu Mar 15 03:25:42 MST 2001

>From Sam :
>  "The overall pictureis roughly this. The poor underdeveloped countries
> as a whole annually send to the rich overdeveloped countries as a whole
> something like 3.5 million tones of high quality protein (fish, oil
> cakes, peas, beans, lentils,etc) while in return the overdeveloped
> countires ship to the underdeveloped about 2.5 million tons of gross
> mainly grain-based protein. Africa exports ground nuts, Peru fish;
> Mexico, Panama, Hong Kong and India (and Thailand--SP) shrimps; in each
> case at the expence of their own poor, who-- the exports retained and
> fairly distributed could take a giant stride toward nutritional
> adequacy.

Indian exports of marine products (shrimps etc) aggregated to 316,000 metric
tonnes in the year 2000. In value terms marine exports amounted to little
more than $ 1billion. These are insignificant numbers for Indian economy and
India's population. Even if they were significant, they are besides the
point. The problem of inadequate nutrition in India is not a supply side
problem. There is no shortage of fish or food in India, if you have the
money to buy it. (Indian government currently holds food stocks aggregating
to 50 million tonnes and these stocks are expected to grow with the new
crop. Government does not know how to reduce food stocks.) Demand for food
is inadequate due lack of purchasing power. Indian CPs have demanded a food
for work programme in the rural India to create jobs, incomes and productive


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