Food Stamp Glitch Leads To Wal-mart Stampede

Police were called as entire shelves were being cleared out, until the glitch was fixed and low-income residents using the cards were no longer allowed to make purchases. From news station KSLA: “Springhill Police Chief Will Lynd confirms they were called in to help the employees at Wal-Mart because there were so many people clearing off the shelves. He says Wal-Mart was so packed, ‘it was worse than any black Friday’ that he’s ever seen. Lynd explained the cards weren’t showing limits and they called corporate Wal-Mart, whose spokesman said to let the people use the cards anyway. From 7 to 9 p.m., people were loading up their carts, but when the cards began showing limits again around 9, one woman was detained because she rang up a bill of $700 and only had .49 on her card. She was held by police until corporate Wal-Mart said they wouldn’t press charges if she left the food. Lynd says at 9 p.m., when the cards came back online and it was announced over the loud speaker, people just left their carts full of food in the aisles and left.” No arrests were made. “Just about everything is gone. I’ve never seen it in that condition,” Mansfield Wal-Mart customer Anthony Fuller told KSLA. More from InvestorPlace

The True Food Prize Goes to the Haitians

Worries over high inflation led new Reserve Bank of India chief Raghuram Rajan to surprise markets last month with an interest rate hike. Many analysts now expect him to raise interest rates by another 25 basis points on October 29, even after data showing economic growth in the June quarter hit a four-year low. “The pickup in inflation is testament to the lingering inflation risks and underscores the need for the RBI to keep its inflation guards up,” said Leif Lybecker Eskesen, Chief Economist for India & ASEAN at HSBC in a note. Federal bond yields posted their biggest advance in three weeks after the data firmed up expectations for a second consecutive rate hike in as many months. The benchmark 10-year government bond yield ended up 8 basis points on the day at 8.57 percent, its highest since September 23. Other data showed consumer prices rose 9.84 percent year-on-year in September, the fastest pace in three months. Economists in a Reuters poll last week had forecast an annual 9.60 percent rise in retail prices. India is not the only major emerging market wrestling with inflation and high food costs – China’s consumer inflation hit a seven-month high of 3.1 percent in September. But the pace of growth in food prices in India stood out, rising to an annual 18.40 percent last month, the fastest clip since July 2010 and triple the 6.1 percent rise seen in China. India’s inflation data comes on the heels of Friday’s disappointing industrial output numbers. Output grew a much-slower-than expected 0.6 percent in August, hurt by weak investment and consumer demand, dashing hopes of an economic rebound by the end of the year. STAGFLATION? The data fills out a picture of high inflation and weak growth in Asia’s third-largest economy, which some analysts define as akin to stagflation. India is struggling to lift its economic growth rate, which hit a decade-low of 5 percent in the fiscal year that ended in March.

Walmart Shelves Emptied in Food Stamp Shopping Spree

Police were called to Walmarts in Mansfield, La., and Springhill, La., on Saturday as shoppers cleaned out store shelves. Springhill Police Chief Will Lynd said some customers were pushing more food than any household could store in a refrigerator and freezer. “I saw people drag out 8 to 10 grocery carts,” he said. Lynd said customers were “not unruly.” There were no fights or arrests made, but the scene was still chaotic, he said. “It was definitely worse than Black Friday. It was worse than anything we had ever seen in this town,” Lynd said. “There was no food left on any of the shelves, and no meat left. The grocery part of Walmart was totally decimated.” He said one customer made about $700 in food purchases. Lynd said that around 9 p.m. CT on Saturday, a Walmart employee made an announcement on the intercom saying that the computer system had been restored and card limits had returned. At that time, customers left shopping carts full of food in store aisles. “At that point in time, they knew the jig was up and they couldn’t purchase what they wanted to,” Lynd said. The Department of Agriculture, which administers the food stamp program and has limited staff due to the government shutdown, did not return a request for comment.

Food prices drive up Indian inflation, strengthening rate hike view

The tiny Caribbean nation was once almost entirely self-sufficient, built by generations of highly organized peasants working together in community groups. In the 80s, that all changedowing to neoliberal agricultural policies that included stabilization to curb inflation, structural adjustment, and export-led growth. The rice and pork industries in the U.S., among others, saw Haiti as a means to quickly expand their market share. But for Haitian farmers forced to learn the hard way, the loss of their heirloom crops and Creole pigs meant a downward spiral into dependence and hunger. In 2008, when the global food price crisis bore down on Haitis staple crops, many rural Haitians curbed their hunger pangs with patties made from mud, oil, and sugar. And the 2010 earthquake took the lives and shelters of many rural farmers who had fled the countryside for Port-au-Prince and surrounding urban areas searching for work. It was within the context of this catastrophe (couched in decades of foreign agricultural intervention) that Monsanto parachuted into Haiti, offering a gift of seeds in excess of $4 million. The catch was that the seeds were a synthetic variety, some so toxic that they had been banned in the U.S. Many Haitians knew better that to plant them. Haitis social movements took the matter seriouslyto the point of burning Monsanto seeds at a protest that brought four peasant movements together, making headlines around the world. Grassroots Movements Reclaim Food Sovereignty Haitis Group of 4 (G4) came together as a coalition in 2007, representing over a quarter million rural farming members of Heads Together Small Farmers of Haiti (Tet Kole), the Peasant Movement of Papaye, the National Congress of Peasant Movement of Papaye, and the Regional Coordination of Organizations of the South East Department. Its strategy is to provide a unified platform for peasants to voice their concerns as well as make space for mass mobilization and advocacy. The G4 recognized control of seeds as a priority from its inception.