Can US exports really help "feed the hungry and malnourished in developing nations around the world," as the industry-funded site Facts About GMOs puts it? A new report from Environmental Working Group basically destroys that claim & Tom Philpott summarizes the data.

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Until recently, six or seven global agri-food businesses competed with each other for a share of the world market for seeds and chemicals. But if EU and US regulators allow a series of mega-mergers to take place, within months just three companies will be left in control of nearly 60% of the world’s seeds, nearly 70% of the chemicals and pesticides needed to grow food and nearly all of the world’s GM crop genetic traits.

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Domestic milk markets in India are in crisis. A price war is raging between dairy processors, to sell milk at extremely low prices in urban areas. This has been accompanied by a steep reduction in milk procurement prices paid and a reduction in the volume of milk procured by dairy processors from producers. Small farmers, whose livelihoods depend on selling milk and who are the backbone of this market, have been hardest hit. This has also severely affected the people’s milk market, commonly referred to as the “informal” or “unorganised” milk markets. Video produced by Food Sovereignty Alliance India. 

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Since August 1st, the news is spreading that Monsanto had to abandon the construction of one of the biggest factories in the world for producing transgenic seed that was to be installed in Córdoba, Argentina, in the municipality of Malvinas Argentinas. From there they had planned to distribute seeds to Latin America and beyond. This is an occurrence of enormous importance, that the company has not wanted to admit publicly, because the reason for their exit is the persistent popular resistance from neighbourhoods, youths and mothers, who have blocked the factory since 2013.

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Despite claims that a massive agricultural development deal in Mozambique will benefit the country’s citizens, there are indications that the project is designed to benefit a select few and could leave 100,000 Mozambicans displaced, write Khadija Sharife and Luis Nhachote.

More than 95% of Mozambique’s cultivated land is worked by millions of families that farm for food and income. But the land and its people may be at risk if one of the largest agricultural development deals in Africa is realised. Details leaked from the Panama Papers database show that the Lurio River Valley Development Project, which is valued at $4.2 billion, is being orchestrated behind a web of opaque offshore companies with little in the way of credible track records, financing information, ownership information or even brick-and-mortar offices.

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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.   

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The Panama Papers leak has focused global attention on tax havens. While most of the initial stories have been about politicians, attention is slowly turning to corporations, by far the biggest users of tax havens. The top 50 US corporations alone are said to have hidden about US$1.4 trillion in tax havens. Food companies like Archer Daniel Midlands (ADM) and Wilmar are heavy users of offshore company structures.

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On Sunday afternoon, 24 April 2016, about 20 Beijing food safety advocates came together in front of ChemChina headquarters in Beijing to protest the state-owned company's acquisition of Syngenta, and the harm that GMOs and toxic agrochemicals will bring to the Chinese people.

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[The US state of] Vermont's attorney general has asked a federal court to force big seed and food companies to turn over internal research on genetically modified crops, escalating a legal battle as the state defends its law requiring labels for GMO ingredients. State Attorney General William Sorrell filed motions in several US district courts seeking to compel Monsanto, DuPont, Syngenta and other seed firms to produce studies or research related to "potential health or environmental impacts" of the crops, as well as pesticides used on them.

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McDonald’s steps up expansion in Asia

Lindsay Whipp, Financial Times | 18 April 2016 | corporations | China, Korea, Republic of

McDonald’s plans to open more than 1,500 restaurants in China and Korea with local partners over the next five years, as it refocuses on expansion in the world’s second-biggest economy after a food safety scare there in 2014 hit sales. Once the outlets are opened, the fast-food chain would have more than 4,300 restaurants across the two countries, 54 per cent more than it has now. 

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