Alex Tabarrok commenting on an idea that is unromantic but ought to work:
Sadly, here is how they are dealing with the food shortage in Haiti.
Paul Collier's The Bottom Billion was my pick for best economics book last year (not written by a dear friend), it was smart, hard-hitting and unconventional. Collier hasn't lost his touch as a great comment, more like an op-ed, on the food crisis over at Martin Wolf's Economic Forum illustrates.
The remedy to high food prices is to increase food supply, something that is entirely feasible. The most realistic way to raise global supply is to replicate the Brazilian model of large, technologically sophisticated agro-companies supplying for the world market.... There are still many areas of the world that have good land which could be used far more productively if it was properly managed by large companies...
Unfortunately, large-scale commercial agriculture is unromantic. We laud the production style of the peasant: environmentally sustainable and human in scale. In respect of manufacturing and services we grew out of this fantasy years ago, but in agriculture it continues to contaminate our policies. In Europe and Japan huge public resources have been devoted to propping up small farms. The best that can be said for these policies is that we can afford them. In Africa, which cannot afford them, development agencies have oriented their entire efforts on agricultural development to peasant style production. As a result, Africa has less large-scale commercial agriculture than it had fifty years ago. Unfortunately, peasant farming is generally not well-suited to innovation and investment: the result has been that African agriculture has fallen further and further behind the advancing productivity frontier of the globalized commercial model.
Read the whole thing. Many more oxen are gored.