Mexico is the world centre of origin and diversification of maize, one of four crucial food crops in world agriculture. Now the future of this crop is being put at grave risk by the impending approval of commercial planting of genetically engineered (GE) maize on 2.4 million ha in Mexico. What is being prepared is nothing less than a frontal attack on a crop that is vital to the survival of humanity and on the peoples who have stewarded it for millennia. This report discusses the situation and it connections to ongoing struggles in Costa Rica, Honduras, Ecuador, Colombia, Bolivia, Chile, Argentina, and Paraguay.
A small number of people are taking over more and more of the world's farmlands, and the water that goes with it, leaving everyone else with less, or none at all. As the world plunges deeper into a food crisis, these new farmland lords will hold sway over who gets to eat and who doesn't and who profits and who perishes within the food system. To help pull back the curtain on the land grabbers, GRAIN has pieced together a slide show that tells a little about some of those who have been most actively pursuing or supporting farmland grabs.
GRAIN | 19 September 2012 | Against the grain
It is a long-standing tradition in many African countries to forbid the selling of land. When land is snapped up by large agribusiness interests in these countries, it is experienced as a brutal violation of this tradition, one that compromises the lives and livelihoods of entire generations to come. At a February 2012 workshop held by Synergie Paysanne, GRAIN, and the African Network for the Right to Food (RAPDA) in Ouidah, Benin, with the support of Bread for all, thirty or more participants representing small-farm organisations and NGOs active on the land grabbing issue in West and Central Africa came together to share their experiences and analysis. This article summarises the issues that were covered and the discussions that took place.
LVC, GRAIN, ETC Group, FoEI, MMM, CLOC, Re:Common | 14 September 2012 | Other publications
Social organisations say they are shocked and offended by a Wall Street Journal article written by the Director General of the UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation and the President of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development which calls on governments and society to embrace corporations as the main engine for global food production. In a collective statement, the groups say the FAO is abandoning its mission by promoting the destruction of peasant farming and land grabbing by agribusiness.
GRAIN, Alianza Biodiversidad, WRM, ATALC | 11 September 2012 | Other publications
This article examines the real intentions behind the proposals for a "Green Economy". It is the introductory chapter to a Compendium on the Green Economy that was prepared as a common position for RIO+20 and that was published collectively in Spanish by GRAIN, Alianza Biodiversidad, World Rainforest Movement (WRM), and Friends of the Earth Latin America and the Caribbean (ATALC).
GRAIN | 22 August 2012 | Against the grain
From the World Bank to pension funds, efforts are under way to regulate land grabs through the creation of codes and standards. The idea is to distinguish those land deals that do meet certain criteria and should be approvingly called "investments" from those that don't and can continue to be stigmatised as land "grabs". Up to now, it was mostly international agencies that were trying to do this. Now, the private sector is engaging in a serious way to set its own rules of the game. Either way, the net result is voluntary self-regulation -- which is ineffective, unreliable and no remedy for the fundamental wrongness of these deals. Rather than help financial and corporate elites to "responsibly invest" in farmland, we need them to stop and divest. Only then can the quite different matter of strengthening and supporting small-scale rural producers in their own territories and communities succeed, for the two agendas clash. In this article, GRAIN gives a quick update on what is going on.
GRAIN | 04 August 2012 | Against the grain
China is now the world’s largest global food market. What Chinese people eat has repercussions on everyone, because of the increasingly global reach of how and where that food is produced. When China began importing soybeans as animal feed in the late 1990s to support the growth of its factory farms, it ushered in a dramatic agricultural transformation in both China and Latin America. Now Beijing is moving down the same path with maize, its other major feed crop, and global corporations and Chinese companies are scrambling to develop and control centers of supply for this potentially huge market. The fallout is already being felt around the globe: from rural exodus in China, to farmland grabs in Africa, to food inflation in Shanghai triggered by drought in the US. China can and should reverse course by shifting away from industrial meat production to small scale livestock farming based on local sources of feed.
GRAIN | 11 June 2012 | Reports
Food cannot be grown without water. In Africa, one in three people endure water scarcity and climate change will make things worse. Building on Africa’s highly sophisticated indigenous water management systems could help resolve this growing crisis, but these very systems are being destroyed by large-scale land grabs amidst claims that Africa's water is abundant, under-utilised and ready to be harnessed for export-oriented agriculture. GRAIN looks behind the current scramble for land in Africa to reveal a global struggle for what is increasingly seen as a commodity more precious than gold or oil: water.
GRAIN | 11 May 2012 | Against the grain
Land grabbing emerged as one of the most important barriers to the advancement of food sovereignty in Latin America & the Caribbean at a recent meeting of social movement organisations. In advance of a United Nations conference in Buenos Aires addressing food security for the region, a new UN Food and Agriculture Organisation report claiming that land grabbing is restricted to only two major countries, drew condemnation from social movements concerned about the scale of the grabs and their the impact on the lives of millions of peasants, people of Afro-communities, indigenous peoples, family farmers, and fisherfolk.
GRAIN is happy to announce its new book "The great food robbery: how corporations control food, grab land and destroy the climate", just published with Fahamu Books and Pambazuka Press. The book looks at the forces driving the world into the food crisis. It focuses on corporations and the ways they organise and control food production and distribution and how this destroys local food systems. It provides information and analysis that will enable and inspire people to take the food system back from corporations and put it in the hands of local communities.