Corporations

GRAIN’s central focus is to support social movements across the world in their resistance to the growing corporate control over food production, markets and trade. We undertake research on how corporations – including agribusiness, large retail and the finance industry – displace millions of small-scale food producers and how trade and investment deals impose the legal conditions for it. 

Apart from our information work, we also support the efforts of partners and peoples’ movements to improve strategies, cooperation and popular action to challenge corporate power, and build capacity with them to achieve this.

Barbarians at the barn: private equity sinks its teeth into agriculture

Financial flows going into agriculture are growing more and more institutionalised – and more and more private. To be sure, investing in agriculture has been going on since time immemorial. After all, farmers do it every day as they improve their soils, set up cooperatives, share knowledge with their children and develop local markets. But since the mid 2000s, institutional investment in agriculture has started growing. From seven agriculture-focused funds in 2004 to more than 300 today, the interest in capturing profits from farming and agribusiness on a global scale is real – and Covid-19 is not slowing things down.

Financial flows going into agriculture are growing more and more institutionalised – and more and more private. To be sure, investing in agriculture has been going on since time immemorial. After all, farmers do it every day as they improve their soils, set up cooperatives, share knowledge with their children and develop local markets. But since the mid 2000s, institutional investment in agriculture has started growing. From seven agriculture-focused funds in 2004 to more than 300 today, the interest in capturing profits from farming and agribusiness on a global scale is real – and Covid-19 is not slowing things down.

What do FTAs mean for African women? A critical look into the African Continental Free Trade Area

The recently ratified African Continental Free Trade Area looms over Africa. Hailed by some as a major milestone of African unity and independence, the ambitions behind the push of this deal by African governments unfortunately reveal a rather corporate agenda that disregards the concerns, livelihoods and aspirations of the continent’s citizens, especially women's.

The recently ratified African Continental Free Trade Area looms over Africa. Hailed by some as a major milestone of African unity and independence, the ambitions behind the push of this deal by African governments unfortunately reveal a rather corporate agenda that disregards the concerns, livelihoods and aspirations of the continent’s citizens, especially women's.

Perils of the US-India free trade agreement for Indian farmers

No one had imagined that the key concerns which made India pull out of RCEP, would be swept aside as the government negotiates yet another disastrous trade deal, this time with the United States. The US-India FTA poses much bigger challenges for India’s rural communities and agriculture sector. It would greatly compromise India’s huge biodiversity, undermine progress in building strong local farming systems and destroy India’s hope for food sovereignty.

No one had imagined that the key concerns which made India pull out of RCEP, would be swept aside as the government negotiates yet another disastrous trade deal, this time with the United States. The US-India FTA poses much bigger challenges for India’s rural communities and agriculture sector. It would greatly compromise India’s huge biodiversity, undermine progress in building strong local farming systems and destroy India’s hope for food sovereignty.

Millions forced to choose between hunger or Covid-19

The only question that matters now is how to ensure everyone has access to food while keeping people safe and healthy at every step from farm to consumer. Unfortunately, this has not been the priority that has shaped food systems over the past decades. But getting there is not as complicated as it may appear.

The only question that matters now is how to ensure everyone has access to food while keeping people safe and healthy at every step from farm to consumer. Unfortunately, this has not been the priority that has shaped food systems over the past decades. But getting there is not as complicated as it may appear.

Profits above all: world's largest pork company propagates global pandemics

The WH Group, the world’s largest pork company and owner of Smithfield Foods, is at the centre of two ongoing global pandemics. Its meat plant in the US, where workers have been protesting unsafe conditions, has become one of the largest clusters of Covid-19 in the country. Meanwhile, the company’s farms and slaughterhouses in China and Europe have played key roles in expanding a global outbreak of African swine fever that has already killed over a quarter of the world’s pig population.

The WH Group, the world’s largest pork company and owner of Smithfield Foods, is at the centre of two ongoing global pandemics. Its meat plant in the US, where workers have been protesting unsafe conditions, has become one of the largest clusters of Covid-19 in the country. Meanwhile, the company’s farms and slaughterhouses in China and Europe have played key roles in expanding a global outbreak of African swine fever that has already killed over a quarter of the world’s pig population.

New research suggests industrial livestock, not wet markets, might be origin of Covid-19

Let’s be clear: there is no solid evidence that the origin of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which is the cause of the current Covid-19 disease pandemic, is an open seafood market in Wuhan that also trades in domestic and wild animals. All that we know is that several early cases of people diagnosed with Covid-19 either worked at this market or shopped there in the days preceding their diagnosis.

Let’s be clear: there is no solid evidence that the origin of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which is the cause of the current Covid-19 disease pandemic, is an open seafood market in Wuhan that also trades in domestic and wild animals. All that we know is that several early cases of people diagnosed with Covid-19 either worked at this market or shopped there in the days preceding their diagnosis.

What does factory farming have to do with the climate crisis?

In recent years, GRAIN’s research on the climate impacts of industrial food production has focused more particularly on the contribution of factory farming and its byproducts to global warming. The data come as a shock: taken together, the world’s five largest meat and dairy corporations are responsible for a greater volume of greenhouse gas emissions than oil companies like Exxon, Shell, or BP.

In recent years, GRAIN’s research on the climate impacts of industrial food production has focused more particularly on the contribution of factory farming and its byproducts to global warming. The data come as a shock: taken together, the world’s five largest meat and dairy corporations are responsible for a greater volume of greenhouse gas emissions than oil companies like Exxon, Shell, or BP.

Building a factory farmed future, one pandemic at a time

With the Covid-19 coronavirus capturing headlines, another serious global disease has disappeared from view. Over the past decade, a strain of African swine fever virus has devastated pig farms in Europe and Asia, with ripple effects across the whole meat industry. Already a quarter of the global pig herd has been wiped out and the economic costs are running well into the hundreds of billions of dollars.

With the Covid-19 coronavirus capturing headlines, another serious global disease has disappeared from view. Over the past decade, a strain of African swine fever virus has devastated pig farms in Europe and Asia, with ripple effects across the whole meat industry. Already a quarter of the global pig herd has been wiped out and the economic costs are running well into the hundreds of billions of dollars.

Fresh markets are not to blame for the new corona virus outbreak

The outbreak of the new coronavirus, Covid-19, has been in the headlines of media outlets across the world since it was first reported in Wuhan, China in late December 2019. There is growing evidence that the Wuhan market may not have been the source of the initial outbreak in humans. A paper published in The Lancet by a large group of Chinese researchers examined the first 41 hospitalised patients with confirmed infections from the coronavirus and found that the earliest case "became ill on 1 December 2019 and had no reported link to the seafood market," In total, 13 of the 41 initial cases they examined had no link to the marketplace.

The outbreak of the new coronavirus, Covid-19, has been in the headlines of media outlets across the world since it was first reported in Wuhan, China in late December 2019. There is growing evidence that the Wuhan market may not have been the source of the initial outbreak in humans. A paper published in The Lancet by a large group of Chinese researchers examined the first 41 hospitalised patients with confirmed infections from the coronavirus and found that the earliest case "became ill on 1 December 2019 and had no reported link to the seafood market," In total, 13 of the 41 initial cases they examined had no link to the marketplace.

RCEP trade deal will intensify land grabbing in Asia

The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) is a proposed mega-trade agreement that involves 10 countries of Southeast Asia and six of their trading partners. If adopted, it will be the biggest trade deal in the world. RCEP will not just change rules on the export and import of goods and services; it will change how governments decide on rights to land and who has access to it. Therefore, it has the potential to increase land grabbing across Asia – already a huge problem in this region. The implications are far-reaching, with millions of farmers' and fisherfolks' livelihoods at stake in RCEP member countries where the population is struggling to feed itself.

The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) is a proposed mega-trade agreement that involves 10 countries of Southeast Asia and six of their trading partners. If adopted, it will be the biggest trade deal in the world. RCEP will not just change rules on the export and import of goods and services; it will change how governments decide on rights to land and who has access to it. Therefore, it has the potential to increase land grabbing across Asia – already a huge problem in this region. The implications are far-reaching, with millions of farmers' and fisherfolks' livelihoods at stake in RCEP member countries where the population is struggling to feed itself.

Indian dairy under threat from new trade deals

India's 150 million small dairy farmers, local cooperatives and networks of small-scale vendors have made the country the world's largest producer of milk and ensured its self-sufficiency. The handful of transnational corporations that dominate the global dairy industry are still only marginal players in India, and only a tiny fraction of dairy products are imported into the country or exported out. But several new trade pacts that cater to transnational corporations, like the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) or the proposed deals pending with Europe, threaten to radically change the map and wipeout India’s small dairy producers. This update from GRAIN assesses what is at stake with current trade talks for India's dairy farmers and vendors, and the consumers they supply.

India's 150 million small dairy farmers, local cooperatives and networks of small-scale vendors have made the country the world's largest producer of milk and ensured its self-sufficiency. The handful of transnational corporations that dominate the global dairy industry are still only marginal players in India, and only a tiny fraction of dairy products are imported into the country or exported out. But several new trade pacts that cater to transnational corporations, like the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) or the proposed deals pending with Europe, threaten to radically change the map and wipeout India’s small dairy producers. This update from GRAIN assesses what is at stake with current trade talks for India's dairy farmers and vendors, and the consumers they supply.

The rise of the superbugs - and why industrial farming is to blame

Massive use of antibiotics, fungicides and herbicides in industrial farming is contributing to the undermining of live-saving human medicines. Governments and intergovernmental agencies have created task forces, working groups and guidelines to deal with the rise of antimicrobial resistance. But none seem to want to confront one of the root causes. Is this not further evidence that it is time to move away from industrial farming and turn to agroecology and food sovereignty instead? This would also help to eliminate one of the key causes behind the collapse of species populations across the world, as well as one of the central culprits behind the climate crisis.

Massive use of antibiotics, fungicides and herbicides in industrial farming is contributing to the undermining of live-saving human medicines. Governments and intergovernmental agencies have created task forces, working groups and guidelines to deal with the rise of antimicrobial resistance. But none seem to want to confront one of the root causes. Is this not further evidence that it is time to move away from industrial farming and turn to agroecology and food sovereignty instead? This would also help to eliminate one of the key causes behind the collapse of species populations across the world, as well as one of the central culprits behind the climate crisis.

Where’s the place for small farmers and traders in the digital marketing world?

In this edition of Supermarket watch Asia, articles from IT for Change reflect on how the existing dominant digital platform will not work for women in the global South whose sources of livelihood are wholly dependent on the informal economy. This is the case in many Asian countries, where women are very much present and actively engaged in traditional food markets. Lastly, the bulletin includes an interview with GRAIN and INRA exploring whether the steamroller effect of supermarkets has the same impacts in the global North and South; and how this model is attempting to reinvent itself in different parts of the world.

In this edition of Supermarket watch Asia, articles from IT for Change reflect on how the existing dominant digital platform will not work for women in the global South whose sources of livelihood are wholly dependent on the informal economy. This is the case in many Asian countries, where women are very much present and actively engaged in traditional food markets. Lastly, the bulletin includes an interview with GRAIN and INRA exploring whether the steamroller effect of supermarkets has the same impacts in the global North and South; and how this model is attempting to reinvent itself in different parts of the world.