Saturday, January 01, 2005

Latin America's Food Chain

The relationship between supermarkets, the chain of distribution, globalization and the small rural farmer is a complicated one. As a follow up to my earlier post regarding a New York Times story on the impact of multi-national grocery chains, it is worth considering this earlier piece from the Washington Post: Reordering Latin America's Food Chain. The economies of scale brought by the large super market chains may allow food to be distributed more cheaply and reduce hunger. This does not diminish the threat to the rural farm economy if farmers cannot adapt, but it helps us remember that these are complicated problems with competing risks and benefits. You can also read this academic article on the growth of supermarkets which is cited in both the New York Times and Post pieces.

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