Street News

I have found that taxi cab drivers are a great source of information about the city. So what’s new? I will be reporting on what I learn from cabbies on occasion.

Today I asked one what he thought Medellin’s biggest problem is. He started off with the potholes in the streets and the City’s failure to fix them. Actually this is first time I have heard this.

I told him I’m interested in writing about the real Medellin for an English speaking audience. He went on to talk about the way the government tries to hide problems associated with poverty from non-Colombians. He mentioned the plight of the street vendors.

What he really wanted to talk about is the injustice of the market for agricultural goods. He does not like the way farmers get low prices for their goods and how the consumer has to pay 3 or 4 times the price the farmer receives in the big wholesale markets. He did not seem to have a clear grasp on the problem of middle men.

I think he is absolutely right about the farmer getting the dirty end of the stick. These folks work the hardest of anyone to get the food we urban dwellers need on our tables. They work for months to bring in a crop. When they take it to the wholesale markets the price they receive rarely meets expectations and they mostly go home disappointed.

This cabbie did not have a clear idea of how the middle men affect these markets. I mentioned to him that each group that handles the produce has to pay their employees, rent and other costs. He got it but still expressed concern for the farmer. I can’t argue with that.

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