The new wave of free trade agreements, written by and for corporate interests, provides little or no benefits for workers, communities, or the environment. Provisions being laid in these new trade deals turn most developing countries into sources of cheap and unprotected labour for transnational companies. Labour rights are being redefined in a way that allows transnational companies to impose brutal working conditions. Once these agreements are signed and ratified, the only legal protection that will fully stand is the abolition of slavery. All other labour rights will be disposable at the companies’ discretion under a wide range of circumstances.
India is being cornered to open up its markets at the ongoing negotiations of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP). A free trade agreement between 16 Asian countries, including massive manufacturers like China, RCEP will bring down import duties to zero on goods, both agricultural and industrial, for more than 92 per cent of tariff lines. Being the world’s largest trade agreement, it will impact half of the world’s population including 420 million small family farms that produce 80 per cent of Asia’s food.
Land activists around the world celebrated the news of the collapse of one of the world’s biggest land grabs: the Indian company Karuturi Global Ltd’s 300,000 hectare farmland deal in Ethiopia. CEO Sai Ramakrishna Karuturi claimed he would bring food security to the horn of Africa while boasting he would soon join the ranks of the world’s biggest food producers.
In June 2017, Amazon, the world’s third largest e-commerce company, announced its acquisition over Whole Foods Market for US$ 13.7 billion. Amazon’s move seems to follow the footsteps of Alibaba, the world’s largest e-commerce company that invested US$ 1.25 billion in buying the Chinese online food delivery service Ele.me in late 2015.
Since 2002, African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries have negotiated a reciprocal free trade agreement known as the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the European Union (EU). While it was marketed as the magic bullet towards the ACP countries’ industrialisation and development, it is in fact an unfair agreement that is anchored in a colonial framework.
Though not highly publicised, the EPA has faced continued opposition from across the ACP countries, not least because of its devastating effect on small scale farmers. The case of some African countries presented here is illustrative of the way communities are fighting to regain control over their resources and protect their markets from the flooding of cheap EU processed foods, along with pesticides and genetically modified organisms.
Stop Golden Rice! Network | 08 August 2017 | Media releases
Four years after the first militant uprooting of Golden Rice, waves of protest mobilisations stir anew in the Philippines and Bangladesh against its commercialisation, while debate rages on in Indonesia, India and other Asian countries where Golden Rice is planned for commercial release.
Hundreds of people gathered in Hyderabad, India, between 22 and 26 July 2017, in opposition to the 19th round of negotiations of the 16-nation Free Trade Agreement (FTA) called the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).
Climate change is a political problem that highlights the need for systemic change to the way food is produced, processed and distributed. From agroecological practices that build resilience, to social movements that resist land grabbing, the articles presented here not only argue for changes to the food system but demonstrate some of the possibilities. A joint editorial in Farming Matters magazine.
“In these supposedly win-win contracts, I would like to know what our communities are gaining. On the contrary, we are losing and even dying a slow death.” With this cry of despair, Célestine Ndong describes the bitter situation in Mouilla, Gabon, where the GRAINE [“seed” in French] program has been underway for several years.
As temperatures rise across the globe, meat and dairy have been found to be a major culprit. Still, the industrial meat industry actively facilitates the growth in consumption rates. We can only solve the climate crisis if we take meaningful steps towards agroecology and food sovereignty.