Trusted local news leader for Kingman, Arizona & Mohave County
Sat, Dec. 07

Marvin's Window: Can't find the bananas<BR>

I looked out my window this week and "yes, there were no bananas!"

I pulled out my binoculars and searched the mountains around the area.

Still no bananas!

I went to the library to check references to find our where bananas are grown in the United States.

Still no bananas!

The United States Department of Agriculture could not tell me any place in the country where farmers raise bananas.

I like bananas and eat them regularly.

I checked the boxes when I purchased more bananas at the local supermarket.

None were raised in the United States!

Why all this concern for bananas? Because the USA is in a "trade war" with Europe over bananas.

Our trade people insist that the countries in Europe treat imported "American" bananas unfairly.

How do we get in a "trade war" over a product not raised in the U.

S.? No bananas are rasied for commercial sale by American farmers.

Why all the fuss over bananas, then?

It seems that some large American companies do raise bananas, mostly in Central America.

These companies convinced the U.S.

trade officials that they were being treated unfairly by European countries that gave special treatment to other places raising bananas.

We actually imposed tariffs on specialty foods coming from Europe in protest of the banana import policies of the European Union.

Scottish Ham was one product singled out.

Of course, Scotland does not grow bananas.

The World Trade Organization ruled that we could not impose tariffs on any ECU products in this dispute without waiting for the WTO to rule.

A little more than a year ago a hurricane destroyed ALL the bananas in Honduras, one of the "Banana Republics" where all the bananas are produced by one American company with local labor.

It will be some time before the banana plantations in Honduras are back in production.

There are no Honduran bananas to sell to the European Union buyers.

But we continue the "banana wars."

Residents of Honduras who once worked on the banana plantations have no jobs and have been crossing our borders to find work.

This sounds crazy and fictional.

It is real.

Most of the bananas shipped to Europe come from Caribbean islands that have historical relationships with specific countries in Europe.

Martinique, a Caribbean island, grows bananas and has shipped them to France for years.

The island is actually a part of France, not a colony.

St.

Lucia has a number of small farmers raising bananas and shipping them to Europe through a farmer's marketing cooperative.

That sounds like an "American" way of doing things.

These small farmers would be hurt if the huge, American companies in places like Honduras should take away part of the banana market in Europe.

St.

Lucia is one of my favorite places in all the world.

It changed hands between France and England 14 times before becoming an independent nation.

St.

Lucia's Marigot Bay was the site where some of "Dr.

Doolittle" was filmed.

The giant snail sat on the beach at Marigot Bay.

The good doctor climbed aboard the giant butterfly in St.

Lucia to fly home to England.

This world economy we live in seems pretty strange to me at times and the "banana trade wars" are one example of the craziness.

Why not worry about trade in products that are produced in the U.S.?

Yes, we have no bananas, but we are arguing about where to sell the bananas we do not have.

Sounds confusing.

This is a trend that may well hit your pocket book at the supermarket without you ever knowing what is going on.

Food companies are merging all the time.

Just this month, one European based company that sells many brands you see on local shelves, bought an American-based food company.

It is now the largest food company in the world and controlled in Europe.

That is when the "world economy" comes home to roost in your pantry!

It takes some vision to see far enough out your Mohave County window to world events that mean something in your life.

Of course, you can already "see" the Arab influence when you fill your gas tank with their gasoline.

Sure hope it does not happen in the grocery store!

Yes, I want the bananas I cannot see through my window.

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