This brief post launches a series of musings about the role of wheat and other grains, especially corn and soy, in the big picture: feeding the world’s population, the impact of growing demand for meat with farmers reliant on grain for feed, the leap to genetically-modified strains to increase productivity or year-over-year predictability, the economic role of these crops.
I will also ponder the notion that, to a great degree, overweight, obesity, and their most defining disease state, diabetes, have also proven to be economic boons to industry. If you were to cultivate a population of diabetics, you might enjoy unprecedented growth in the diabetes drug industry–precisely what has happened these last few years.
Here is a perspective on the production of grains worldwide taken from agribusiness giant, Syngenta’s economic projections:
The global demand for grains to provide the 3 F’s–Food, Feed, and Fuel–is on a powerful upward trajectory. Note that Food is the largest portion of grain production.
Likewise, the growth of the diabetes drug market is on a powerful upward trend.
Is this just a happy (from the standpoint of industry) intersection, the coincidence of booming reliance on grain with the booming incidence of weight gain and diabetes? Or is this an instance of making dough . . . out of dough? Is the multi-billion dollar diabetes industry a result of widespread gluttony and laziness . . . or is it part of some grand design?