MakanClub goes on Hiatus

Going for a 2 months trip to Central America and California in March - End April 2008.

First visiting California for the largest Organic Expo in the States then backpacking to Guatemala for the Semana Santa Easter festival and following the Mayan Ruins trail to Mexico.

So it's gonna be a little quiet here, I have scheduled some articles posts to keep you company while I'm gone.

The Real Banana Republic

The Banana or the Cavendish banana, more popularly known as the Del Monte banana is facing extinction through the Sigatoka Fungus and Panama disease. Because of its unique reproductive system, its sexless, seedless and reproduced from only cuttings. Every single banana is a clone, having exact genetic codes. So without any genetic outliers, any diseases or epidemics can wipe out the whole variety before it can develop any immunity. Its popular predecessor, Gros Michel banana (popular before 1950s) was commerically annihilated by the same fungus.

Here's an interesting book, 'Banana: The Fate of the Fruit That Changed the World' by author Dan Koeppel.

Koeppel explains the history of of the banana, and how the cavendish banana came to be a popular variety in our supermarkets. He also gave some insight on the Banana Republics of Central America, a little dark history of corporate america like United Fruit Company igniting civil wars in Central America.

The book gives a harsh look at the food production corporations with their mono-cultures. Quite a bleak future of food.

However there are some things I do disagree, like his views of genetic modification and organic farming. His solution is the use of genetic modified banana (the present variety is GM, hello) and disagrees that going into organic farming is not the solution, even though he acknowledges that bananas are one of the crops that are heavily sprayed with pesticides. does an radio interview with Dan Koeppel,
go check it out at

The funny thing about having a blog

Besides the fact that I have been a bloody bum and not been writing anything here, doing a little travelling around is no excuse!

I had received a few connections via this blog. A couple of nice folks emailed me with regards on cancer and alternate therapies out there and another dropped me an email about a post on a friend whom had passed away and she was somehow connected to my friend in some way!

More surprisingly, a person I met up recently emailed me recommending a documentary which I had did a mini review on this blog, and had quoted my review back to me in his post!

How strange is that.

In some crazy little way, despite my utter cynic view of this planet, for that very micro second, I felt a little connected with people.

The Rising Cost of Food - Wheat

Do you realise that Oil is somehow connected to the rising cost of Food. Think about it, this whole planet is relying on oil based agriculture, pesticides, fertilisers, transportation, all that rely on Oil.

Here's my warped solution, 1) cut down human population by half , or ; 2) Move away from oil based agriculture and reliance on oil. Option 1 is easier, Option 2 is too political and hurts the money belt of rich nations.


Record cereal prices burden poor countries

By Javier Blas in London and Heba Saleh in Cairo

Record grain prices are ­placing a “heavy financial burden” on developing countries, forcing a small decline in food consumption, the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organisation on Wednesday warned.

The world’s poor countries will have to pay 35 per cent more for their cereals imports – taking the total cost to a record $33.1bn (€22.8bn, £17bn) – in the year to July 2008, even as their food purchases decline by 2 per cent. Food consumption per capita will suffer a slight drop.

The rising cereal imports bill has triggered an increase in food subsidies in countries such as Egypt, Oman and Pakistan, retail price freezes in Russia and China, and large reductions in cereals import tariffs.

Prices for wheat on Wednesday hit a high amid robust demand from emerging countries and weather­-related supply disruptions.

Only two months ago, the FAO estimated the poor countries’ cereal imports bill would rise by 25 per cent.

The world’s largest importer of wheat is Egypt. Darwish Mostapha, undersecretary at the ministry of social solidarity, which is responsible for food sub­sidies, said the country was spending much more to control prices.

“We cannot raise the prices of subsidised food so every increase [in international prices] is absorbed by the state,” Mr Mostapha said. “The bread subsidy alone went up by around $820m last year to reach $2.45bn.”

Food price inflation has forced the Egyptian government for the first time in 20 years to relax the rules about who can receive subsidised food. As a result, officials say they expect an additional 10.5m people to be added to the list.

Pakistan last week launched ration cards to provide subsidised food for nearly 7m households after the price of wheat and edible oils, key staples in the country, soared. Food ration cards in Pakistan were mostly abandoned in the 1980s.

Cereals prices are unlikely to come down in the short-term, said the FAO, despite much more wheat having been planted in the northern hemisphere over the winter.

“The current situation is such that it may require significant increases in production of more than one season’s cereal crop for markets to regain their stability and for prices to decline significantly below the recent highs,” the FAO said.

Top-quality spring wheat – in high demand for baking bread – on Wednesday reached a high of $17.31¾ a bushel at the Minneapolis Grain Exchange, the highest price paid in the US for any wheat variety. However, other strains, such as soft wheat in Chicago, traded significantly lower.

“With world demand showing little sign of abating, international prices of most cereals remain high, and some are still on the increase, while reserves are heading for yet another decline from their already low levels,” the FAO said.

Additional reporting by Najmeh Bozorgmehr in Tehran