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.

The misnamed “Mayan Train” : Multimodal land grabbing

We now know that the proposed Mayan Train is far more than a rail line. It consists of a web of diverse projects, together making up what amounts to a giant “special economic zone.” New hubs for programs, projects, grants, competitive bidding, public policy, and investment will spring up in the five Mexican states involved — Tabasco, Chiapas, Campeche, Yucatán, and Quintana Roo. There has already been land grabbing, deforestation, devastation, poisoning, and environmental degradation, and there will likely be forced population displacement as well. The 181,000-km2 peninsula is being reconfigured as a region of extractive projects, multimodal land and resource monopolization, and maquiladoras.

We now know that the proposed Mayan Train is far more than a rail line. It consists of a web of diverse projects, together making up what amounts to a giant “special economic zone.” New hubs for programs, projects, grants, competitive bidding, public policy, and investment will spring up in the five Mexican states involved — Tabasco, Chiapas, Campeche, Yucatán, and Quintana Roo. There has already been land grabbing, deforestation, devastation, poisoning, and environmental degradation, and there will likely be forced population displacement as well. The 181,000-km2 peninsula is being reconfigured as a region of extractive projects, multimodal land and resource monopolization, and maquiladoras.

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.

Asia under threat of UPOV 91

The push for Asian countries to join UPOV – the Union for the protection of new plant varieties, a kind of patent system for seeds – or to follow its rules is raging today under the auspices of various trade negotiations. With up to 80% of all seeds used in Asia today still coming from farmers who save seeds from previous harvests, joining UPOV 1991 would be catastrophic. It compromises farmers’ freedom over their seeds and further consolidates the seed industry.

The push for Asian countries to join UPOV – the Union for the protection of new plant varieties, a kind of patent system for seeds – or to follow its rules is raging today under the auspices of various trade negotiations. With up to 80% of all seeds used in Asia today still coming from farmers who save seeds from previous harvests, joining UPOV 1991 would be catastrophic. It compromises farmers’ freedom over their seeds and further consolidates the seed industry.

EU-Mercosur trade deal will intensify the climate crisis from agriculture

The EU-Mercosur free trade agreement has been presented as a climate friendly post-Paris agreement trade deal. Yet its central premise is to increase trade in a host of climate-disrupting products like automobiles, industrial beef, ethanol and soybeans. This report calculates the increase in ag commodities production and trade as a result of this deal, and their impact on the climate.

The EU-Mercosur free trade agreement has been presented as a climate friendly post-Paris agreement trade deal. Yet its central premise is to increase trade in a host of climate-disrupting products like automobiles, industrial beef, ethanol and soybeans. This report calculates the increase in ag commodities production and trade as a result of this deal, and their impact on the climate.

Harvard and TIAA's farmland grab in Brazil goes up in smoke

Brazil is smouldering, still. The surge of fires that raged across the Amazon in July and August has now spread to the country's biodiverse savanna lands in the Cerrado, where the number of fires in September was double what it was a year ago.

Brazil is smouldering, still. The surge of fires that raged across the Amazon in July and August has now spread to the country's biodiverse savanna lands in the Cerrado, where the number of fires in September was double what it was a year ago.

Step aside agribusiness, it's time for real solutions to the climate crisis

Big food and agribusiness companies are desperate to portray themselves as part of the solution to the climate crisis. But there is no way to reconcile what's needed to heal our planet with their unflinching commitment to growth.

Big food and agribusiness companies are desperate to portray themselves as part of the solution to the climate crisis. But there is no way to reconcile what's needed to heal our planet with their unflinching commitment to growth.

Communities in Africa fight back against the land grab for palm oil

Over the past decade, agribusiness companies have been increasing their production of palm oil to meet a growing global demand for cheap vegetable oil that gets used in the production of processed foods, biofuels and cosmetics. Community lands in many African countries are a main target for the expansion of their plantations. But the communities are fighting back

Over the past decade, agribusiness companies have been increasing their production of palm oil to meet a growing global demand for cheap vegetable oil that gets used in the production of processed foods, biofuels and cosmetics. Community lands in many African countries are a main target for the expansion of their plantations. But the communities are fighting back

Food sovereignty is Africa's only solution to climate chaos

The convergence of the climate crisis and rising food imports in Africa is a recipe for catastrophe. Unless actions are taken to build up local food systems and reverse the growing reliance on imports of cereals and other staple foods, there will be multiple and more severe repeats of the 2007-8 food crisis that caused food riots across the continent. African governments and donors have wasted the past decade on failed programmes and policies to support corporate agribusiness while doing little to effectively challenge the corporations that are dumping surplus food commodities, driving up global greenhouse gas emissions and destroying biodiversity. Now, movements for climate justice and African food producers must urgently join forces to eliminate the dependence on food imports and realise food sovereignty across the continent to respond to the climate crisis.

The convergence of the climate crisis and rising food imports in Africa is a recipe for catastrophe. Unless actions are taken to build up local food systems and reverse the growing reliance on imports of cereals and other staple foods, there will be multiple and more severe repeats of the 2007-8 food crisis that caused food riots across the continent. African governments and donors have wasted the past decade on failed programmes and policies to support corporate agribusiness while doing little to effectively challenge the corporations that are dumping surplus food commodities, driving up global greenhouse gas emissions and destroying biodiversity. Now, movements for climate justice and African food producers must urgently join forces to eliminate the dependence on food imports and realise food sovereignty across the continent to respond to the climate crisis.

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.