Volume 6, Number 6                                   December 31, 2002

The Farmer

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Give me your fast-food money!

by Dr. Ridgely Abdul Muímin Muhammad

 

On my way back from the Black Holocaust Conference on December 14th in New York I stopped over in Greensboro, NC and participated in an historical joint presentation by Mr. Al Wellington, co-founder of MATAH and myself. Mr. Wellington was invited to come to the Spiritual Connection and Enrichment Center to give a presentation on MATAH on this Wednesday evening. Min. Willie Muhammad also gave me a few minutes to speak on the necessity of controlling our food supply from the "land to the man". Little did we know how well the two subjects and presentations would fit together even though I had never met Mr. Wellington nor seen the MATAH concept presented.

Using Mr. Wellingtonís projector I gave a PowerPoint presentation which described how "better educated" Black people lost most of the 15 million acres of land that our less "educated" ancestors had bought fresh up from slavery. I described how the USDA used tax money to subsidize white farmers while denying Black farmers access to their fair share of those subsidies which over time gave white farmers an increasing comparative advantage over their Black competitors.

I also showed how the gap has widened over the last twenty years between what the farmer receives for his products and what the consumer pays at the retail level. In 1980 the farmer received an aggregate of about $81.7 billion of the consumersí food bill of $182.7 billion. However, by 1998 the consumer was spending $465.8 billion on food while the farmer's portion of that bill was only $118.8 billion. In other words whereas the farmer received a little under one half of the consumer's total food expenditures in 1980, by 1998 he received less than one forth of the consumer's food bill.

Whereís the money? Who is getting the bulk of your food dollar? Answer, the processors, distributors, restaurants and retail stores are getting the bulk of the consumer's money while the farmers, and particularly the Black farmers, get less than crumbs.

How do consumers spend their money? According to some 1999 data found in a book entitled "Fast Food Nation", Americans spend over $110 billion on fast foods. This is more than they spend on new cars, higher education, personal computers, newspapers, records or movies.

Now enters Mr. Wellington who backs up my findings and adds a lot more. Mr. Wellington, the co-founder of MATAH with our deceased warrior, Mr. Ken Bridges , started by pointing out that African-Americansí consumer spending makes up the margins of profitability that is making white corporations wealthy. For instance, Mr. Wellington pointed out that Tide is the number one laundry detergent in America and controls 54% of Black consumer spending for laundry detergents. He asks the rhetorical question, "can Black people produce laundry detergent?"

But on further analysis Mr. Wellington realized that more money is made through distributing a product than manufacturing it. And there is no need to produce a product if you can not distribute it in the system. NaÔve Black would-be millionaires dream of coming up with that one great product and getting it in all the major stores and grasping a major "market share" of that type of commodity. Mr. Wellington pointed out that there is but so much shelf space, for say, "laundry detergent", in any given retail store or supermarket. There is a little something called "slotting allowances" where you have to pay these heavy, heavy fees just to get your product in the distribution system.

Mr. Wellington then uses the example of a breakfast cereal entrepreneur who comes up with a line of cereal with just four flavors. "To get 100 per cent distribution in each supermarket in the country would cost you about $17 million just to get your product on the shelf", he said. This of course does not include advertising or promotional stuff that you need to get your product in the minds of your potential market.

This led to the development of a business concept where Al Wellington and Ken Bridges got together with George Johnson and Min. Louis Farrakhan in 1985 to establish "Power". That "Power" program and concept was a good one but they were not able to make a go of it at that time. However, after the 1995 Million Man March, Al Wellington and Ken Bridges got back together and formed a new direct marketing enterprise called "MATAH". The name was originated by Ken Bridges. The meaning of the name and how it was formulated can be seen in the complete video presentation of Mr. Wellington and myself, called "MATAH: The staff of Life". After viewing this tape which also includes footage of Mr. Ken Bridges before his assassination, we can only now begin to understand the great loss that we as a people have suffered through Mr. Bridgesí death.

Basically, the MATAH concept centers around taking Black manufactured or grown products and selling them directly to Black consumers. Mr. Wellington is shooting for capturing 10% of the Black consumer market. He said that they now have 2,600 distributors nationwide. Ken Bridges had just closed a $100 million deal with Dudley Products to import, manufacture and distribute a revolutionary natural pain relief oil called "GNO" made from nutmeg grown in Grenada.

You have an opportunity to be a part of a planning summit designed to be held at Dudleyís Conference Center outside of Greensboro, NC from February 7-9, 2003 as a part of the "5th Annual Black Land Loss Summit" where our theme is "Controlling our destiny from the land to the man." The only way that we can save our remaining land base is to develop our own distribution system for food, so that the land will become valuable for what it can produce instead of what it can be sold for.

How are we as a people going to finance this and other new production/distribution systems? Answer, "give me your fast-food money". I donít want your rent money. I donít want your car money. I donít want your "grocery" money. Just give me your "fast-food money", $110 billion and we can build a new future for Blacks and Americans as a whole. "Give me your fast-food money", before it kills you. Please! (Read "Fast Food to Hell" at www.MuhammadFarms.com.)

For more information go to www.MuhammadFarms.com or call us at (888)995-8119.