Time for Thorns

An independent view on life.

Posts Tagged ‘agriculture

China needs soybeans…

leave a comment »

If you’re going to get into a pissing contest with Donald J. Trump,  it might serve you well to be certain you can feed your people and serve your markets  without purchasing  soybeans from the USA.   It might also be useful for you to employ someone able to see that South America is suffering a shortage of the product,  so that even if china can import more from Argentina,  the latter country will likely have to import additional supplies from America.

Goodness,  this international trade stuff is really interconnected and difficult,  ain’t it?

 

 

Advertisements

Written by timeforthorns

August 9, 2018 at 2:17 pm

Vanilla failure…

leave a comment »

If you bake you already know that vanilla  beans cost  almost as much as gold does now,  so you’re using a lot less of them now than you did a few years ago.   The price is due to a vanilla crop failure in Madagascar,  where 80% of the world’s supply comes from.   Then the island was hit by Cyclone Enawo in March of 2017,  which destroyed many of the vanilla orchids which produce the seed pods,  and this was followed by a major drought.

Because the crop is now so valuable,  it’s a major target of thieves,  and the unstable government will do nothing,  which forces producers to pick too  early,  resulting in lowered quality.   If the producers don’t get their act together,  the use of synthetic vanilla may kill off the natural flavoring.

 

 

Written by timeforthorns

April 21, 2018 at 2:59 pm

Golden rice…

leave a comment »

If you could save half a million destitute children each year from blindness and/or death from Vitamin A deficiency,  would you do it?   I certainly  would.   All you would need to do is encourage the cultivation of golden rice,   which  simply modifies rice to contain beta-carotene,  a necessary nutrient often missing from the diets of the destitute in countries such as Bangladesh,  the Philippines,  and Indonesia.

Yes,  golden rice is a GMO (genetically modified organism),  but it is not toxic and it puts nothing harmful into the environment.   It is being developed by the non-profit International Rice Research Institute,  not by monsanto or any of the other big players in agriculture.    It will be provided patent- and royalty-free to poorer farmers on a non-profit basis, with funding from the Gates Foundation and others.

Yet the non-GMO hysterics are trying to block this valuable,  helpful resource.   You will never convince them that nearly everything they eat is to some extent GMO — cattle producers have practiced selective breeding of bovines in order to obtain the qualities they desired,  whether higher milk production or more muscular cattle.  Flowers are hybridized all the time,  and vegetable plants are carefully produced to thrive in certain climates and conditions or to produce fruits with specific qualities.

I have written to the anti-GMO guys pointing out that objecting to golden rice is in fact anti-human,  which is most certainly is.  My letters and postcards may not change their minds,  but it proves to them that people are watching them and objecting to their positions,  so they can’t claim  honestly that everyone agrees with them.   And it made me feel better!

 

Written by timeforthorns

April 7, 2018 at 9:29 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Tagged with , , ,

Nut thieves…

leave a comment »

It used to be that thieves simply hijacked trucks carrying California almonds and walnuts,  but now  they’ve gone  high-tech,  hacking trucking company computers and stealing identities and shipping documents.

Written by timeforthorns

April 15, 2016 at 10:17 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Tagged with , ,

Methuselah…

leave a comment »

No,  not the extremely long-lived biblical character,  but a date palm grown from a 2,000 year old seed found decades ago at Israel’s historic mountain fortress of Masada.   It’s growing well and has fertile pollen.  Wouldn’t it be interesting to have a grove of ancient date palm trees growing?

Written by timeforthorns

April 1, 2015 at 11:14 pm