JOSEPH COLLINS FRANCES MOORE LAPPE
Multinational Agribusiness and the Global Supermarket
IT takes a lot of vegetables to fill a DC 10 cargo jet. Yet three times a week, from early December until May, a chartered DC 10 takes off from Senegal's dusty Dakar airport loaded with eggplants., green beans, tomatoes, melons and paprika. Its destination? Amsterdam, Paris or Stockholm. These airlifts of food from the African Sahel began in 1972, theifourth year of the region's publicized drought. They increased dramatically as famine spread.
In 1971 Fritz Marschall, an executive of the Brussels affiliate of the world-ranging, G ilifornia-based Bud Antel, Inc., visited Senegal. Marschall, formerly a sales manager for Mcrcedes trucks, was struck by the similarity between Senegal's sun-rich climate and that of southern California. Only two generations ago federally-funded irrigation projects and ill-paid Mexican labour had helped make California an agribusiness wonderland. But as farmworkers in California began organizing. Bud Antel, like other companies, began looking foi cheaper labour elsewhere. Maybe Senegal could replace California as the company's source of vegetables for the high-priced European winter market.
By 1972, the German-born Marschall -— known in European vegetable circles as ^the pusher" — had set up Bud Senegal as an affiliate of Bud Antel's Brussels affiliate, the House of Bud. Promoting the entire