In two minds

The Northland Age - - Opinion -

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


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