2017 went down as one of the deadliest years ever for land defenders. It was also a pretty bad year for several land grabbers. A significant number of big farmland deals collapsed, adding to a growing list of projects that have backfired over the past few years. While this is good news for affected communities, many of them are now left dealing with the fall-out and still struggling to get their lands back. We may have made some gains in stopping the projects, but have urgent work to do to address what happens when they fail.

 

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Electronic commerce is expanding rapidly into food distribution and retail across Asia. In particular, the emergence of online food delivery services is generating significant changes to farm-to-fork food supply chains. Yet very few countries have regulations covering online food distribution, including food safety and health hazards, or even regulations covering cross-border e-commerce for food. Some of the world's largest e-commerce and retail companies are moving aggressively to take control of and expand online food retail, with major implications for local food systems, small vendors and farmers.

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NGOs and solidarity organisations supporting the struggles of affected local communities assess the problems caused, and promises unkept, by the SOCFIN group, as shareholders meet for the rubber and oil palm giant’s AGM on 30 May.

 

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Daewoo's overseas agribusiness expansion

GRAIN, TANY Collective, Yayasan Pusaka | 16 May 2018 | Against the grain, Corporations & trade

Ten years ago, headlines around the world reported the shocking news that a subsidiary of Daewoo Logistics called Madagascar Future Enterprise Corp., was negotiating a 99-year lease with the government of Madagascar for 1.3 million hectares of arable land – almost half of the country’s arable land. Their plan was to grow corn and oil palm in four regions of the island for shipment back to South Korea to produce animal feed and biofuel respectively. Today, far from the 1999 bankruptcy of Daewoo Motors, South Korea’s Daewoo is one of world’s largest transnational conglomerates and continues to expand a business empire that extends from manufacturing and trade to natural resources like oil and gas, minerals and food. 

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In October 2017, the Guardian published a story titled “2017 on course to be deadliest on record for land defenders”. By their count, at that moment, the number of people killed because of their stance against mining, agribusiness and other forms of land grabbing, had reached 150. By the end of the year, the number stood at almost 200. 

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Seeds in resistance

ANAFAE, REDSAG, Red de Biodiversidad, Grupo Semillas, Acción Ecológica, Articulación Nacional de Agroecología, Acción por la Biodiversidad and GRAIN | 26 March 2018 | Multimedia, Videos, Seeds

"Seeds in resistance" is an animation developed in connection with the documentary "Seeds: commons or corporate property?", produced in 2017 by a collective of Latin American organisations from all across the continent that are working to defend native seeds as the basis of peoples' food sovereignty.

 

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In August 2017, a Mexican research team composed of members from the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM) and the Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana (UAM) published a study showing the presence of transgenes and the herbicide glyphosate in processed foods and tortillas made from industrial maize (corn) throughout Mexico.

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Civil society decries FSANZ approval of Golden Rice

Stop Golden Rice! Network and GRAIN | 22 February 2018 | Seeds

The recent release of Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) approval report of the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) application for a Golden Rice ‘safety stamp’ and trade liability clearance have garnered negative reactions and widespread critique. 

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The Latin American Seeds Collective presents the documentary "Seeds: commons or corporate property?"

ANAFAE, REDSAG, Red de Biodiversidad, Grupo Semillas, Acción Ecológica, Articulación Nacional de Agroecología, Acción por la Biodiversidad and GRAIN | 29 January 2018 | Other publications, Seeds, Videos

Jointly produced by eight Latin American organisations and edited by Radio Mundo Real, the documentary "Seeds: commons or corporate property?" draws on the experiences and struggles of social movements for the defence of indigenous and native seeds in Ecuador, Brazil, Costa Rica, Mexico, Honduras, Argentina, Colombia, and Guatemala. 

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It all started one morning in August 2011 when three village communities in eastern-central Côte d’Ivoire learned that a Belgian corporation called SIAT was about to move onto their land. Not long afterward, an agribusiness firm started putting in a rubber monoculture on 11,000 ha that the communities had neither sold nor ceded and that SIAT was not entitled to exploit.

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