Friday, June 08, 2012

Prosperity from U.S. Shale Revolution Spreads to Poor Indian Farmers Growing Beans for Fracking


WSJ -- "From its place on humble Indian tables, a little-known Indian bean called “guar” is making the fortunes of poor farmers. The demand for guar has soared since gum made from guar seeds started being used to extract shale gas late last year.

Mostly grown in the heart of India’s desert lands, the price of the vegetable has jumped from about 40 rupees ($0.70) a kilogram at the time of the September-October harvest to around 300 rupees ($5.40) per kilogram today. As a result, barefoot farmers who until recently struggled to make a living are now riding cars and motorbikes and carefully locking the seeds away.

Around 80% of the 1.2 million tons of guar that were harvested last season were snapped up for oil and gas drilling. India produces 80% of the global guar crop. Pakistan and the U.S. are a distant second and third, and all are trying to increase production."

HTs: Marginal Revolution and Energy-in-Depth

11 Comments:

At 6/08/2012 11:16 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

Where can I get guar seed?

 
At 6/09/2012 12:45 AM, OpenID Sprewell said...

Hmm, interesting, I've actually eaten these beans in Asia a handful of times. Never knew that was how they made guar gum, which is in the ingredient list for a ton of packaged food products, always assumed it was some kind of man-made chemical.

 
At 6/09/2012 1:37 AM, Blogger Abir Mandal said...

but but but... capitalism is only good for evil capitalists. We all know trickle down wealth is just a myth!

 
At 6/09/2012 2:32 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Can I assume, then, that this isn't one of those "toxic chemicals" I keep reading about that is poisoning groundwater?

 
At 6/09/2012 5:54 AM, Blogger Henry H said...

The invisible hand will increase production with more Indian farmers switching to Guar crops. Prices should stabilize or drop by 2013.

 
At 6/09/2012 8:54 AM, Blogger juandos said...

"Can I assume, then, that this isn't one of those "toxic chemicals" I keep reading about that is poisoning groundwater?"...

Well ron h a good point as usual...

Now if people were really interested in the contents of a typical fracking fluid (starting at 2-6) instead of an agenda I wonder at how many fewer supposed horror stories would be hearing or reading about?

 
At 6/09/2012 10:56 AM, Blogger Les Johnson said...

The major ingedient in a frac fluid is water, followed by sand, followed by guar, followed by salt, followed by soap. The latter is in parts per thousand.

The complaint on water use is that it takes water out of the hydrological cycle. Of course, burning CH4 into 1CO2 and 2H2O will introduce 10-20 times more water back into the cycle, than was sequestered.

 
At 6/09/2012 4:29 PM, Blogger kmg said...

Guar beans are a standard item in Indian cuisine..

Far from 'toxic', they have a lot of fiber, flavinoids, and cartenoids.

Americans would do well to eat something that is so good at preventing colon cancer..

 
At 6/11/2012 12:31 PM, Blogger Raakshasa said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 6/11/2012 12:34 PM, Blogger Raakshasa said...

I'm currently in India, and can tell you that there is some serious error in Mr. B.D.Agarwals story. I don't see any farmers who's driving cars because of the guar bean. And it still sell less than a $1 at the street corner.
If anyone is willing to buy for $5 I will supply:)

 
At 7/22/2012 8:11 PM, OpenID fluffymcdeath said...

Great - now we are putting beans down holes so we can get gas. I bet the poor people of India would rather get gas the old fashioned way by eating the beans.

(You can't eat natural gas)

 

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