Chipping away at Cardiovascular Disease
If, like me, you fancy a piece of chocolate every now and then, pay heed. In spite of being part of a US$100bn market, your favourite indulgence is at risk because the man who grows the cocoa bean is quitting. So would you if you had to live on 50 US cents a day. That is what a grower in West Africa earns – exactly a quarter of the international poverty line. Of the US$2 you pay for your little luxury the farmer receives 13 cents – 6.6%. So he is quitting.
This is one example of the difference between what the primary producer gets and what you, the consumer, pay. There are many others. Who is making money out of these transactions? Clearly the cocoa bean has to be transported, processed, packaged, marketed, distributed and serviced on its way to you. Are there too many links in the chain? Do some of them have an unfair advantage over the producer? Can price and reward be more fairly distributed? And, most important of all, is the goodness processed out of the cocoa bean, or whatever, before it reaches you?
What causes the enormous gap between the man on the soil and the man in the marketing role? The law of supply and demand surely wasn’t meant to bring us to a point where our grower gives up and leaves us chocolateless? Or, worse, short of good green veggies?
Pondering the fate of the farmer and listening to Dr Matthias Rath’s remarkable story of the natural control of Cardiovascular Disease I recalled one of the yearnings I have had ever since I was forced to give up farming – a longing for fresh, organically grown greens. There is something about asparagus cut thirty minutes before you eat it that defies description. Yet I can recall that something perfectly from when I was eight years old and we lived in an asparagus field.
If you have half an hour, see Dr Rath’s modestly told and highly convincing story. It may stir the same feelings in you that I had. Vitamin C naturally via luscious greens to improve the blood flow. There’s a proposition for you. But the greens must be flavourful, appealing. You must taste the sunshine, salivate over the raindrops, caress the crunch. Wow.
Now I hear you asking what does the cocoa bean grower in West Africa have to do with fresh greens? Isn’t the association a bit far-fetched? Not at all – but you have to add one more factor to make the connection work. Freight both by sea and by air is in the doldrums. The internet is stealing the paper chase. So there is lots of air-freight space going cheap. Why don’t we connect the dots of the underpaid grower, the longing – even gasping – consumer and the empty aircraft, and get our veggies faster and greener?
We are already paying outrageous prices for refrigerated sea-freighted greens that limp onto our plates bereft of Vitamin C.
Time to demand better greens, don’t you think?