Nigerian farmer leader talks about resistance to land grabs

Interview with Olaseinde Makanjuola Arigbede of the United Small and Medium scale Farmers' Associations of Nigeria (USMEFAN)

Interview with Olaseinde Makanjuola Arigbede of the United Small and Medium scale Farmers' Associations of Nigeria (USMEFAN)

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Pension funds: key players in the global farmland grab

Large scale agricultural land acquisitions are generating conflicts and controversies around the world. A growing body of reports show that these projects are bad for local communities and that they promote the wrong kind of agriculture for a world in the grips of serious food and environmental crises. Yet funds continue to flow to overseas farmland like iron to a magnet. Why? Because of the financial returns. And some of the biggest players looking to profit from farmland are pension funds, with billions of dollars invested.

Large scale agricultural land acquisitions are generating conflicts and controversies around the world. A growing body of reports show that these projects are bad for local communities and that they promote the wrong kind of agriculture for a world in the grips of serious food and environmental crises. Yet funds continue to flow to overseas farmland like iron to a magnet. Why? Because of the financial returns. And some of the biggest players looking to profit from farmland are pension funds, with billions of dollars invested.

The IMF: Violating women since 1945

As Dominique Strauss Kahn sits in a New York jail, Christine Ahn and Kavita Ramdas draw the link between the rape charges filed against him and the IMF's policies of systematic rape of the earth -- including the privatisation of seeds, land, water, forests and fisheries.

As Dominique Strauss Kahn sits in a New York jail, Christine Ahn and Kavita Ramdas draw the link between the rape charges filed against him and the IMF's policies of systematic rape of the earth -- including the privatisation of seeds, land, water, forests and fisheries.

Food safety for whom? Corporate wealth versus people's health

School children in the US were served 200,000 kilos of meat contaminated with a deadly antibiotic-resistant bacteria before the nation's second largest meat packer issued a recall in 2009. A year earlier, six babies died and 300,000 others got horribly sick with kidney problems in China when one of the country's top dairy producers knowingly allowed an industrial chemical into its milk supply. Across the world, people are getting sick and dying from food like never before. Governments and corporations are responding with all kinds of rules and regulations, but few have anything to do with public health. The trade agreements, laws and private standards used to impose their version of "food safety" only entrench corporate food systems that make us sick and devastate those that truly feed and care for people, those based on biodiversity, traditional knowledge, and local markets. People are resisting, whether its movements against GMOs in Benin and "mad cow" beef in Korea or campaigns to defend street hawkers in India and raw milk in Colombia. The question of who defines "food safety" is increasingly central to the struggle over the future of food and agriculture. Read the synopsis of this report here.

School children in the US were served 200,000 kilos of meat contaminated with a deadly antibiotic-resistant bacteria before the nation's second largest meat packer issued a recall in 2009. A year earlier, six babies died and 300,000 others got horribly sick with kidney problems in China when one of the country's top dairy producers knowingly allowed an industrial chemical into its milk supply. Across the world, people are getting sick and dying from food like never before. Governments and corporations are responding with all kinds of rules and regulations, but few have anything to do with public health. The trade agreements, laws and private standards used to impose their version of "food safety" only entrench corporate food systems that make us sick and devastate those that truly feed and care for people, those based on biodiversity, traditional knowledge, and local markets. People are resisting, whether its movements against GMOs in Benin and "mad cow" beef in Korea or campaigns to defend street hawkers in India and raw milk in Colombia. The question of who defines "food safety" is increasingly central to the struggle over the future of food and agriculture. Read the synopsis of this report here.

It's time to outlaw land grabbing, not to make it 'responsible'!

On 18-20 April 2011, a gathering of some 200 farmland investors, government officials and international civil servants will meet at the World Bank headquarters in Washington DC to discuss how to operationalise "responsible" large-scale land acquisitions. Over in Rome, the Committee on World Food Security, housed at the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation, is about to start a process of consultation on principles to regulate such deals. Social movements and civil society organisations (CSOs), on the other hand, are mobilising to stop land grabs, and undo the ones already coming into play, as a matter of utmost urgency. Why do the World Bank, UN agencies and a number of highly concerned governments insist on trying to promote these land grab deals as "responsible agricultural investments"?

On 18-20 April 2011, a gathering of some 200 farmland investors, government officials and international civil servants will meet at the World Bank headquarters in Washington DC to discuss how to operationalise "responsible" large-scale land acquisitions. Over in Rome, the Committee on World Food Security, housed at the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation, is about to start a process of consultation on principles to regulate such deals. Social movements and civil society organisations (CSOs), on the other hand, are mobilising to stop land grabs, and undo the ones already coming into play, as a matter of utmost urgency. Why do the World Bank, UN agencies and a number of highly concerned governments insist on trying to promote these land grab deals as "responsible agricultural investments"?

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New agricultural agreement in Argentina: A land grabber’s “instruction manual”

The Government of the Province of Río Negro, Argentina, and one of China's largest agribusiness companies are moving forward on an agreement that hands over thousands of hectares of land for the production of soybean and cereal crops for export. The Río Negro provincial government has touted this project as a “food production agreement” but local communities and people across Argentina are voicing their opposition, denouncing it as a land giveaway for industrial soy production. They call the agreement “a land grabber’s instruction manual”. This issue of Against the grain gives the details.

The Government of the Province of Río Negro, Argentina, and one of China's largest agribusiness companies are moving forward on an agreement that hands over thousands of hectares of land for the production of soybean and cereal crops for export. The Río Negro provincial government has touted this project as a “food production agreement” but local communities and people across Argentina are voicing their opposition, denouncing it as a land giveaway for industrial soy production. They call the agreement “a land grabber’s instruction manual”. This issue of Against the grain gives the details.

Saudi investors poised to take control of rice production in Senegal and Mali?

Saudi Arabia's strategy to outsource food production will be at the top of the agenda when several heads of state and high-level delegations from African countries arrive in Riyadh for an investor conference on December 4, 2010. In some of these countries, Saudi investors are already acquiring farmland and starting to put the Kingdom's policies into operation. One of their main targets is West Africa's rice lands. New information obtained by GRAIN shows that the Kingdom's most powerful businessmen are pursuing deals in Senegal, Mali and other countries that would give them control over several hundred thousand hectares of the region's most productive farmlands to produce rice for export to Saudi Arabia. The deals will severely undermine national food security and destroy the livelihoods of millions of farmers and pastoralists. All of this is transpiring behind closed doors with African governments and without the knowledge of the affected people or the general public.

Saudi Arabia's strategy to outsource food production will be at the top of the agenda when several heads of state and high-level delegations from African countries arrive in Riyadh for an investor conference on December 4, 2010. In some of these countries, Saudi investors are already acquiring farmland and starting to put the Kingdom's policies into operation. One of their main targets is West Africa's rice lands. New information obtained by GRAIN shows that the Kingdom's most powerful businessmen are pursuing deals in Senegal, Mali and other countries that would give them control over several hundred thousand hectares of the region's most productive farmlands to produce rice for export to Saudi Arabia. The deals will severely undermine national food security and destroy the livelihoods of millions of farmers and pastoralists. All of this is transpiring behind closed doors with African governments and without the knowledge of the affected people or the general public.

The new farm owners: corporate investors lead the rush for control over overseas farmland

The two big global crises that erupted in 2008 – the world food crisis and the broader financial crisis that the food crisis has been part of are together spawning a new and disturbing trend towards buying up land for outsourced food production. For the past two years, investors have been scrambling to take control of farmland in in Asia, Africa and Latin America. A background article on landgrabbing by GRAIN, published as a chapter in the Monthly Review Press book  'Agriculture and food in crisis'.

The two big global crises that erupted in 2008 – the world food crisis and the broader financial crisis that the food crisis has been part of are together spawning a new and disturbing trend towards buying up land for outsourced food production. For the past two years, investors have been scrambling to take control of farmland in in Asia, Africa and Latin America. A background article on landgrabbing by GRAIN, published as a chapter in the Monthly Review Press book  'Agriculture and food in crisis'.

From green to gene revolution: How farmers lost control of the seeds from agricultural modernisation (2010)

This downloadable pamphlet is developed by GRAIN and the Pesticides Eco-Alternatives Centre (PEAC) to raise Chinese farmers' awareness about the broad historical context of industrial agriculture, and how it paved the way for the introduction of modern varieties of crops and agricultural technologies. Available in Mandarin. A shorter version (brochure) published by PEAC is also available.

This downloadable pamphlet is developed by GRAIN and the Pesticides Eco-Alternatives Centre (PEAC) to raise Chinese farmers' awareness about the broad historical context of industrial agriculture, and how it paved the way for the introduction of modern varieties of crops and agricultural technologies. Available in Mandarin. A shorter version (brochure) published by PEAC is also available.

From green to gene revolution: How farmers lost control of the seeds from agricultural modernisation

This article was written by GRAIN and the Pesticides Eco-Alternatives Centre (PEAC) in China to raise Chinese farmers' awareness about the broad historical context of industrial agriculture, and how it paved the way for the introduction of modern varieties of crops and agricultural technologies. Also available in Mandarin.

This article was written by GRAIN and the Pesticides Eco-Alternatives Centre (PEAC) in China to raise Chinese farmers' awareness about the broad historical context of industrial agriculture, and how it paved the way for the introduction of modern varieties of crops and agricultural technologies. Also available in Mandarin.

Seedling - October 2010

The October 2010 issue of Seedling features an article by GRAIN on the global expansion of industrial meat production and the rise of a new crop of transnational meat corporations based in countries of the South. In another article, GRAIN looks at what's happening on the climate change front with a special focus on the outcome of the Peoples Summit in Cochabamba, Bolivia. Also in this issue, are two articles by the World Rainforest Movement, one on the push for "carbon shopping in forests" and another on the Roundtable for Responsible Palm Oil's role in expanding monoculture oil palm plantations. Plus, South African researcher Rachel Wynberg takes a critical look back at the experiences of the San peoples of southern Africa with the high-profile case of access-and-benefit sharing concerning the Hoodia plant. And more..... (download pdf version from document tools)

The October 2010 issue of Seedling features an article by GRAIN on the global expansion of industrial meat production and the rise of a new crop of transnational meat corporations based in countries of the South. In another article, GRAIN looks at what's happening on the climate change front with a special focus on the outcome of the Peoples Summit in Cochabamba, Bolivia. Also in this issue, are two articles by the World Rainforest Movement, one on the push for "carbon shopping in forests" and another on the Roundtable for Responsible Palm Oil's role in expanding monoculture oil palm plantations. Plus, South African researcher Rachel Wynberg takes a critical look back at the experiences of the San peoples of southern Africa with the high-profile case of access-and-benefit sharing concerning the Hoodia plant. And more..... (download pdf version from document tools)

World Bank report on land grabbing: beyond the smoke and mirrors

On 7 September 2010, the World Bank finally published its much anticipated report on the global farmland grab. GRAIN's take on the report is that it is both a disappointment and a failure. Very little new and solid data about how these land grab deals are playing out on the ground is presented. The findings that the Bank does articulate -- that the land grab trend is huge and growing, that communities are not benefiting and that the conditions under which most of these deals are being pursued are extremely poor -- corroborate what many have been saying for two years already. The Bank's own direct involvement in the global land grab is hardly mentioned. Most of the report is smoke and mirrors talk about potentials and opportunities, leading us to the conclusion that there is a huge disconnect between what the World Bank says, what is happening on the ground and what is truly needed. Right now, numerous governments and civil society organisations are calling to put a brake of one form or another on these land grab deals, which the study essentially ignores.

On 7 September 2010, the World Bank finally published its much anticipated report on the global farmland grab. GRAIN's take on the report is that it is both a disappointment and a failure. Very little new and solid data about how these land grab deals are playing out on the ground is presented. The findings that the Bank does articulate -- that the land grab trend is huge and growing, that communities are not benefiting and that the conditions under which most of these deals are being pursued are extremely poor -- corroborate what many have been saying for two years already. The Bank's own direct involvement in the global land grab is hardly mentioned. Most of the report is smoke and mirrors talk about potentials and opportunities, leading us to the conclusion that there is a huge disconnect between what the World Bank says, what is happening on the ground and what is truly needed. Right now, numerous governments and civil society organisations are calling to put a brake of one form or another on these land grab deals, which the study essentially ignores.