On 24 July 2018, Focus on the Global South, ETC Group, and the Chulalongkorn University Research Institute (CUSRI) organized a forum in Bangkok on corporate concentration in agriculture and food, and its implications on food sovereignty in South East Asia. The forum brought speakers from a number of national, regional and international organisations, and the audience of around 60 individuals comprised representatives from social movements, civil society organisations, academia, and the general public.
ANZ Banking Group violated its own policies and international human rights standards by financing a Cambodian sugar company that seized land from local farmers, according to a statement released today by an Australian government body that monitors corporate behavior overseas. In a rare rebuke of a commercial bank, the Australian National Contact Point found it “difficult to reconcile” ANZ’s decision to finance Phnom Penh Sugar with the bank’s internal rules and the OECD Guidelines, an ethical business code that the Australian government has endorsed.
Five years ago today, more than 400 farmers, women, youth and consumers uprooted the secret Golden Rice field trials in Pili, Camarines Sur, decisively showing the rejection of the people against the genetically modified rice. The historic action has resulted to increased awareness and renewed debate globally and has driven the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) to postpone the commercialization slated in 2016 supposedly due to the lower yields of the Golden Rice.
On 30 August 2017, 40 people brought a petition to the Chinese Embassy in Phnom Penh calling for the withdrawal of a group of Chinese agribusiness companies from Preah Vihear province in northern Cambodia. The companies, five subsidiaries of the Chinese company Hengfu, are accused of grabbing land in 2011 from tens of thousands of families and their communities, destroying local ecosystems and putting farmers’ livelihoods in jeopardy.
In 2010, more than 1,500 families in Kampong Speu’s Oral district were evicted from the land they had cultivated since the fall of the Khmer Rouge regime in 1979 to make way for a Phnom Penh Sugar Company mega-plantation. After years of campaigning, many of those families in recent weeks accepted compensation packages from the company, owned by Ly Yong Phat, a ruling party senator. However, recipients, community leaders and NGOs have since raised concerns that the company obtained the settlement agreements through bullying and coercion.
On 1 and 3 June, protestors occupied the headquarters of Socfin (Luxembourg) and Bolloré (Paris) demanding that the two companies respect the rights of local communities. Socfin and Bolloré have agricultural investments in several countries in Asia and Africa, primarily for oil palm plantations. See an overview of the days' mobilisations, which were live-tweeted by GRAIN and others.
Peasant farmers deprived of their lands have launched a series of occupations of Socfin's plantations in Cameroon, Liberia, Cambodia and Côte d'Ivoire
Slaves forced to work for no pay for years at a time under threat of extreme violence are being used in Asia in the production of seafood sold by major US, British and other European retailers.