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Agrisol profits don't make the company at fault

BY DI EDITORIAL BOARD | JULY 12, 2012 6:30 AM

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There has been an ongoing theme lately that the rich man is the bad guy. The profits are at the expense of the weak, and there is no such thing as ethical business.

However, not all businesses are cruel, and not all profits mean greed. When companies come in, some people really do get hired, and if that business is profitable, more people can get hired.

One business in particular under fire for claims of profiteering and corruption is Iowa's own AgriSol Energy LLC.

In Tanzania, AgriSol Energy LLC landed a deal in which the inputs are cheap, and the product, food, will be sold at an international market price that will yield immense profits.

Given that information, many have raised their red flags, and have begun a deeper investigation. However, the information revealed in the Oakland Institute investigation, as well as the public documents provided by AgriSol Energy, our conclusion is that AgriSol is not a corrupt company victimizing the people of Tanzania; rather, it is a company with valuable goals that will help not only the nation of Tanzania but neighboring nations as well.

Unfortunately, the farmland offered to AgriSol also had many refugees living on it who had lived there for many years and didn't want to move. So their government forced them to using scare tactics and allegedly violating their human rights.

AgriSol Energy is involved in the fray because it was interested in using the land, but only to make inexpensive products that will both feed the Tanzanian people and be exported to increase profits.

Henry Akona, the director of communications for AgriSol Tanzania, said that through the new technology and farming methods, the company will introduce, the people of Tanzania will have more food than ever before and will be able to sell it on an international scale. That would ultimately produce economic growth and stability for the people.

Although AgriSol Energy certainly aims to make a profit, that's not indicative of corruption. AgriSol's profits will allow Tanzania to produce chicken feed more quickly and provide refrigeration so that eggs are affordable and no longer a luxury.

According to the U.N. Development Programme report in Tanzania, the Tanzanian people are suffering an epidemic caused by malnutrition because of their poverty, lack of refrigeration, cooking oil, and inability to feed their children enough protein.

Children under the age of 5 are most susceptible to protein deficiencies, which can cause muscle stuntedness and mental retardation — two health problems that are permanent and incurable.

"When a dozen eggs is viewed as a luxury item, it comes as no surprise that children have protein deficiencies," Akona said. He noted that this something this company can change.

The profits the company will see provides Regent Bruce Rastetter, managing director of AgriSol, with the incentive to improve lives on an international scale, and it allows for this kind of work to be sustainable.

Developing nations suffer in the reliability of foreign aid, because donors are not always able to donate. Just think of the last time you made a donation to feed the African children, and maybe you'll start to realize that "profitable" doesn't mean "evil" — rather, it means sustainable and reliable.

It's important that we always look for ways to make life better and always investigate corruption and ensure the sanctity of life.

Human beings are human beings regardless of skin color, language, or country of origin, and so they must be treated with dignity and respect. The crimes committed against refugees in Tanzania should not be ignored and warrant attention, but we should not make matters worse by defaming an institution that would allow Tanzania to be the breadbasket of the region.

AgriSol Energy hopes that through a profitable investment strategy, it may be able to make Tanzanian economy strong enough that people can afford both to buy and sell their foods, Akona said.

We must encourage legitimate agreements between employees and employers, but do not forget that America has a market economy, and the free market is not the enemy.


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