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.

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.

All crises, THE crisis (the industrial agri-food system is central to all of them)

The crises that all of humanity is confronting, linked to the capitalist, extractivist, and colonial model that now dominates most societies on the planet, have reached such a magnitude that they are no longer just being denounced by the same social movements that have been talking about them for fifty years; they are now found in the official reports of governments, international organisations and scientific organisations that have not been co-opted by corporate interests. A particular feature of all these crises is their close interconnection with the industrial agri-food system — indeed, they are all deeply and causally rooted in it.

The crises that all of humanity is confronting, linked to the capitalist, extractivist, and colonial model that now dominates most societies on the planet, have reached such a magnitude that they are no longer just being denounced by the same social movements that have been talking about them for fifty years; they are now found in the official reports of governments, international organisations and scientific organisations that have not been co-opted by corporate interests. A particular feature of all these crises is their close interconnection with the industrial agri-food system — indeed, they are all deeply and causally rooted in it.

Supermarkets and convenience stores: the unflinching plastic polluters

In the past few years, the growing problem of plastic pollution has reached a tipping point in public awareness. China and the United States stand as the top plastic waste generators in the world. But poor waste management has put Asia in the spotlight of the global fight against plastic pollution. Inadequate waste disposal in open and uncontrolled landfills has led China, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam to dump more plastic into the oceans than the rest of the world combined.

In the past few years, the growing problem of plastic pollution has reached a tipping point in public awareness. China and the United States stand as the top plastic waste generators in the world. But poor waste management has put Asia in the spotlight of the global fight against plastic pollution. Inadequate waste disposal in open and uncontrolled landfills has led China, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam to dump more plastic into the oceans than the rest of the world combined.

The Belt and Road Initiative: Chinese agribusiness going global

China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is the largest infrastructure project ever embarked upon in world history. Launched in 2013 to better connect China with the rest of the world, the project currently involves some 90 countries across Asia, Europe and Africa, and is expected to cost more than US$1 trillion. BRI will also increase the concentration of global food production and distribution, potentially pushing small-scale farmers, fisherfolk, forest peoples and rural communities further to the margins. This report looks at some of the key issues that are beginning to emerge from BRI-related projects in different Asian and African countries. These revolve around debt and threats to national sovereignty, land grabbing, displacement, human rights abuses in conflict zones, environmental impacts, public health concerns and labour violations.    

China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is the largest infrastructure project ever embarked upon in world history. Launched in 2013 to better connect China with the rest of the world, the project currently involves some 90 countries across Asia, Europe and Africa, and is expected to cost more than US$1 trillion. BRI will also increase the concentration of global food production and distribution, potentially pushing small-scale farmers, fisherfolk, forest peoples and rural communities further to the margins. This report looks at some of the key issues that are beginning to emerge from BRI-related projects in different Asian and African countries. These revolve around debt and threats to national sovereignty, land grabbing, displacement, human rights abuses in conflict zones, environmental impacts, public health concerns and labour violations.    

Supermarkets out! Food systems are doing just fine without them

In this edition of the Supermarkets Watch Asia Bulletin, we look at the expansion of multinational food companies and retailers from a widened point-of-view. These companies are adopting new strategies to expand their presence in Asia and across the globe. The editorial of this number of the Bulletin focuses on the aggressive actions of multinational supermarket chains in Africa. Their impact on local food systems has given birth to a new struggle across the African continent, led by small farmers, small vendors and consumers.

In this edition of the Supermarkets Watch Asia Bulletin, we look at the expansion of multinational food companies and retailers from a widened point-of-view. These companies are adopting new strategies to expand their presence in Asia and across the globe. The editorial of this number of the Bulletin focuses on the aggressive actions of multinational supermarket chains in Africa. Their impact on local food systems has given birth to a new struggle across the African continent, led by small farmers, small vendors and consumers.

Supermarkets out of Africa! Food systems across the continent are doing just fine without them

Africa's food systems are a final frontier for multinational food companies and retailers. Most Africans still consume a healthy diet of traditional foods, supplied by millions of small vendors and small farmers across the continent. But this is slowly changing as global food companies and retailers adopt new strategies to expand their presence on the continent, led by the aggressive actions of some multinational supermarket chains. The livelihoods of millions of small vendors and local farmers are at risk, as are people's health and the continent's diverse traditional food cultures. While African governments do little but facilitate this expansion of foreign supermarkets, small vendors, farmers and urban consumers are coming together to defend their local food systems.

Africa's food systems are a final frontier for multinational food companies and retailers. Most Africans still consume a healthy diet of traditional foods, supplied by millions of small vendors and small farmers across the continent. But this is slowly changing as global food companies and retailers adopt new strategies to expand their presence on the continent, led by the aggressive actions of some multinational supermarket chains. The livelihoods of millions of small vendors and local farmers are at risk, as are people's health and the continent's diverse traditional food cultures. While African governments do little but facilitate this expansion of foreign supermarkets, small vendors, farmers and urban consumers are coming together to defend their local food systems.