NY Times: “Sohan Singh’s shoeless children have spent most of their lives hungry, dirty and hot. A farmer in a desert land, Mr. Singh could not afford anything better than a mud hut and a barely adequate diet for his family.
Farmers waited this month to receive free guar seeds from an Indian company.
But it just so happens that when the hard little bean that Mr. Singh grows is ground up, it becomes an essential ingredient for mining oil and natural gas in a process called hydraulic fracturing.
Halfway around the world, earnings are down for an oil services giant, Halliburton, because prices have risen for guar, the bean that Mr. Singh and his fellow farmers raise.
Halliburton’s loss was, in a rather significant way, Mr. Singh’s gain — a rare victory for the littlest of the little guys in global trade. The increase in guar prices is helping to transform this part of the state of Rajasthan in northwestern India, one of the world’s poorest places. Tractor sales are soaring, land prices are increasing and weddings have grown even more colorful.
“Now we have enough food, and we have a house made of stone,” Mr. Singh said proudly while his rail-thin children stared in awe.
Guar, a modest bean so hard that it can crack teeth, has become an unlikely global player, and dirt-poor farmers like Mr. Singh have suddenly become a crucial link in the energy production of the United States.”
- Shale energy triggers bean rush in India (junkscience.com)
- Big energy demand for guar gum squeezing other industries (fuelfix.com)
- What Ice Cream and Fracking Have in Common And Why Your Dessert Has Become So Pricey (blogs.dallasobserver.com)
- Bean shortage hits Halliburton (bbc.co.uk)