In two minds
In answer to Renee Dumas (A question of scale, letters July 3) I am in two minds about large-scale farming and horticulture.
In the ’50s, the Russians had large farms with many workers, but it seemed that more food was produced in all the workers’ little home garden plots than was produced on the big farms. So yes, when one has a vested interest in the job more may be produced.
But on the other side, the farm of about 500 acres next door had, until a couple of years ago, given a dairy farm living to one or two families. But now that it is going into avocados they have signed up 50 full-time workers. That is 50 families getting a living on the same land that one family had before.
I cannot see that any small developments could have produced so many jobs, or that that farm cut into 50 blocks could have given a decent living to each block.
My argument was actually that we on the land are trying to produce food for an ever increasing population with ever-increasing expectations, and every way we turn some person, usually one who has never run a business or produced food for others, leaps up with a new demand to make our jobs harder and more costly.
The fact that someone sees a way of making money at the same time as giving wages to others, who often do not have the skills to run their own business, should be applauded, not decried.
After all, they have put up their own money to begin this business, and it is they who take the risks if that business fails.
Some years back a person barged into the office of one extremely rich American businessman and yelled something like, “You have too much money. You should spread it around and give it to everybody.” The businessman called in his accountant and asked how much money he had.
The accountant told his boss, who then asked if he could divide that by the world’s population. Then the businessman said to the accountant, “Give this man his four and a half cents and show him out.”
You cannot make the poor rich by making the rich poor. We need entrepreneurs who are willing to take the risks and make the jobs for those less able. And if that means large-scale farms then so be it. The same land is used to make the same amount of food, be it owned by one or many. SYLVIA BRYAN