Seedling - July 2007

Latin America - Soya nexus in South America

Along with the rapid expansion of ethanol production, largely manufactured from sugar cane, South America is also beginning to play a key role as a producer of biodiesel. The main feedstock is soya and, for the soya farmers and the multinational grain companies, who were facing problems of overproduction, the new market outlet is a godsend. It gives them the perfect pretext for continuing their take-over of the continent.

Along with the rapid expansion of ethanol production, largely manufactured from sugar cane, South America is also beginning to play a key role as a producer of biodiesel. The main feedstock is soya and, for the soya farmers and the multinational grain companies, who were facing problems of overproduction, the new market outlet is a godsend. It gives them the perfect pretext for continuing their take-over of the continent.

Further reading: good materials on agrofuels

The volume of recent articles, papers and other materials on agrofuels can be overwhelming. Below we list some that we found particularly useful when preparing this Seedling.

The volume of recent articles, papers and other materials on agrofuels can be overwhelming. Below we list some that we found particularly useful when preparing this Seedling.

Fear over growing WIPO-FAO links

Farmers’ and peasants’ lives are increasingly affected by international rules made by governments at remote international meetings. For some time transnational corporations have been using intergovernmental forums to extend their influence over food and farming policies in the developing world. For example, the introduction of rules on intellectual property (e.g. patents and plant variety protection) in the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and, via WTO, into agriculture was very much a corporate-driven project. But sometimes smaller, stealthier steps can have an equally disturbing impact. We look at what is going on in two international organisations.

Farmers’ and peasants’ lives are increasingly affected by international rules made by governments at remote international meetings. For some time transnational corporations have been using intergovernmental forums to extend their influence over food and farming policies in the developing world. For example, the introduction of rules on intellectual property (e.g. patents and plant variety protection) in the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and, via WTO, into agriculture was very much a corporate-driven project. But sometimes smaller, stealthier steps can have an equally disturbing impact. We look at what is going on in two international organisations.