In 1979, Dan Morgan, a journalist with the Washington Post, wrote Merchants of Grain, a definitive history of the international grain trade. In the 40 years since Dan’s book was published the grain markets have changed almost beyond recognition. So too have the merchants of grain. Once shadowy figures, grain merchants have now come out of the shadows.
Almost everything that you eat or drink today will contain something bought, stored, transported, processed, shipped, distributed or sold by one of the seven giants of the agricultural supply chain. The media often refers to them as the ABCD group of international grain-trading companies, with ABCD standing for ADM, Bunge, Cargill and Dreyfus. The acronym, though, ignores the other three giants of the food supply: Glencore, COFCO International and Wilmar. Together, they handle 50 percent of the international trade in grain and oilseeds.
In this book’s series of exclusive and unprecedented interviews, CEOs and senior traders from these seven giants describe in their own words how the agricultural markets are changing, and how they are adapting to those changes.
This is the inside story of the grain market and of the seven companies at the centre of the world’s food supply.
Out of the Shadows – The New Merchants of Grain is available on Amazon
The world will need to produce as much food in the next forty years as it did in the past 8,000 years. Moving that food to where it is needed will require a massive investment in logistics, in port and transport infrastructure, as well as in distribution, processing and packaging networks within countries. Governments will not make those investments. Instead the task will fall on the world’s commodity trading (merchandising) companies.
When most people think of agricultural commodity merchants, they imagine dubious characters manipulating markets and pushing up food prices. Few people understand what agricultural traders actually do, and how their markets function. This book is intended to at least partly correct that.
Commodity Conversations is available on Amazon
In this far-reaching and wide-ranging book Jonathan dispels many myths, both about sugar and about how commodity markets work. He looks carefully at human rights, environment sustainability, speculation, food prices, commodity trading, market manipulation, government intervention and health. He provides some surprising conclusions. Anyone who is interested in how their food is produced and how it arrives on their plate, or into their cereal bowl will enjoy this book.
With contributions from, or interviews with: • Isara Vongkusolkit, Sunny Verghese, Robert Kuok, Chris Mahoney, Greg Page, Ralph Potter, and Sven Sielhorst.
The Sugar Casino is available in Kindle or Paperback versions on Amazon