«Water, thou hast no taste, no color, no odor; canst not be defined, art relished while ever mysterious. Not necessary to life, but rather life itself, thou fillest us with a gratification that exceeds the delight of the senses.» (Quote by Antoine de Saint-Exupery, From Wind, Sand and Stars, 1939)
Do you know Armajaro, an investment firm based in London, specialised within the cocoa and coffee markets? A week ago I read about them the first time: The WochenZeitung (German) wrote that Armajaro bought cocoa beans on the European market. Above 240’000 metric tons, worth over $ 1’000’000’000, to be exact, sometime between July and September it seems – the equivalent of almost the entire supply of the commodity in Liffe-registered warehouses across Europe. Or about 7% of the annually, global production. But guess, this was not the first time.
In August 2002 Armajaro acquired 204’000 tons of cocoa beans and, as it seems, gained $ 64’000’000 out of the deal (Talk about finding a golden ticket in a bar of chocolate). Mr. Ward, the head and founder of Armajaro, told The Daily Telegraph in 2002: «We are not trying to inflate the market.» He founded Armajaro in 1998, which is today one of the top three players in the cocoa market, in which prices have risen 150 percent over the past two-and-a-half years.
Armajaros highest-paid director received a salary of $ 8’500’000 last year, $ 1’000’000 more than in 2008. Mr Ward manages Armajaro’s flagship CC+ Fund, which specialises in cocoa and coffee. He achieved a double-digit growth in the value of the fund in the year to September. His fund forms part of Armajaro Asset Management, which has over $ 1’500’000’000 under management. I love zeros visualized. And Mr. Ward too, it seems. (source: www.africanagricultureblog.com)
This is a blog post for the Blog Action Day 2010 about water, so what I’m writing about cocoa and abuser of nearly one million childs (Ghana only)? About that $ 7 million committed by the International Chocolate and Cocoa Industry (Harkin-Engel Protocol) towards addressing the situation of worst form of child labour in Cocoa farms over 5 year was inadequate, compared to the countless zeros above?
Ever heard of Nestle? 12 % of the $ 112’600’000’000 annual sales are made from chocolate, 27 % from drinks. Nestle is working hard on privatization of water. There’s a very good new documentary about water on this topic. Veolia and Suez, the world’s biggest water multinational companies, are already active in at least 69 countries on all five continents. More than 80 % of the water supply is still in the hands of the public sector. Every time, however, a town council in financial fetters asks around to be relieved of this burden, Veolia and Suez come knocking at the door. I’m not an highly educated economist – but I don’t need to understand a gearbox to see what goes in and what comes out. The rich get richer, the poor get poorer, redistribution of income from the bottom up, what equates the neo-liberal concept. Privatization of public infrastructure is a giant vacuum cleaner for the small men’s pockets. They pray «it’s getting cheaper», we pray «oh really, yeah, sure, cool!», then it doesn’t, but it’s to late. And if it’s cheap, it costs lives. And for the counter value of only 12 litres of milk from the nearby farmer you get a 32 GB piece of USB-hightech made of diverse highly energy intensive special materials from all over the world produced on microscopic scale in a dustfree production hall on the other side of the globe. While many places and air and water got polluted in the process. For 3 gallons of milk! And if the newspaper tells it’s the only good and true system, then it must be true, ain’t it?
Once water will be dealt via companies quoted on the stock exchange while there is a global shortage – man-made, what else? – the cocoa game will have started on water too. I don’t need to guess who the winners will be: Those who’s earnings rise one million dollars per year – and that’s not you and me. We and 99.9 % of mankind will be on the losers side. Today, unsafe water kills more peaple than war. The most bitter conflicts of the next 50 years won’t be over oil. Become aware of virtual water – that, by way of example, one kilogram of beef costs 15’500 litres. One kilogram wheat costs 1’300 litres.
What can we do to save water, environment, ourselves for a New World? It is all about the same with modern problems in the 21st century: Education. Don’t believe anyone (not even me), think for your self, think holistic. And then vote! If you can, politically, and not for the neo-liberal and neocon moneymakers. Buy fair. Get informed. Vote by buying stuff that don’t hurt anyone. Don’t buy from Nestle and the like! Avoid shopping at Lidl, Aldi, Walmart and suchlike. Try to buy local stuff. Teach your and others children. Inform others. Don’t invest if you get more than, let’s say 7 or 8 % return – or someone far or not so far away will die for that, well, the fund manager, by stroke of luck.
Or the war on bottled water might get globally, as the world tends to import American habits. Or we might get millions of environmental refugees, in addition to the millions of political, war and economic fugitives. We teach our children to share – I just wonder why we adults don’t do this. Maybe you know?
P.S: Speak german? While trying to translate american and german billions and milliards once more, I stumbled over this discussion, which is 24 posts about 3 zeros less or more. And I thought I’m confused about this topic…