Dependence on import of staple foods due to transnational corporations
The principal issues which have arisen in relation to transnational corporation operations in the staple-food sector grow out of the role they have played in fostering import-dependent processing, and in impeding improvements in the production and marketing of indigenous staple foods. Problems may also arise when transnational corporations in these industries seek to develop local supply sources. Increased local production of the new product can usually be achieved only at the expense of the output of the new staple foods. Even where local farmers are encouraged to produce the imported staple (for instance, wheat) significant amounts of land may be diverted from crops better suited to the local climate or of wide popular consumption. A related issue arises when the replacement crop is intended as animal feed, and displaces production of staples for direct human consumption. Typically, the final consumer of meat is at a higher income level than the individual for whom the staple product was intended. Products fostered by transnational corporations may thus tend to heighten issues of distribution (of nutrition as well as national income) raised by this kind of agricultural activity.
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