Friday, September 4, 2009

Saturdays, Beef and the Dilemma of Food Security in the Third World

When I was young we only get beef on Saturdays, that's how it is in developing countries if you source it out from the local market, you can only get beef once a week and most of the time its Saturday and its in limited supply, if you get to the market late well, better settle for pork then or chicken.  In developing countries, it is much easier to become a locavore since what is available to you are simply local stuff.

With economic growth and the affluence that enabled us to have western standards, things have changed, we can get beef anytime of the week in meat shops at groceries and hypermarkets. Cattle raising and beef farming did try its expansion given the demand but it is still cheaper to most of the beef in the frozen section comes from Australia, New Zealand and of course Brazil. With blast freeze technology, we really could not recognize whether that beef came from a top a nearby hill or halfway around the world. Now, we rarely get beef at the local market, maybe once a month but not too often.

It is the need to cheapen things up that expanded the mega-fast-food's supply chain. Producers are trying to do their best to minimize cost and this means externalizing most of it. However, acting on the short-term interest like cheap fast food right now often produces long-term results that nobody really likes.