What do FTAs mean for African women? A critical look into the African Continental Free Trade Area

The recently ratified African Continental Free Trade Area looms over Africa. Hailed by some as a major milestone of African unity and independence, the ambitions behind the push of this deal by African governments unfortunately reveal a rather corporate agenda that disregards the concerns, livelihoods and aspirations of the continent’s citizens, especially women's.

The recently ratified African Continental Free Trade Area looms over Africa. Hailed by some as a major milestone of African unity and independence, the ambitions behind the push of this deal by African governments unfortunately reveal a rather corporate agenda that disregards the concerns, livelihoods and aspirations of the continent’s citizens, especially women's.

Perils of the US-India free trade agreement for Indian farmers

No one had imagined that the key concerns which made India pull out of RCEP, would be swept aside as the government negotiates yet another disastrous trade deal, this time with the United States. The US-India FTA poses much bigger challenges for India’s rural communities and agriculture sector. It would greatly compromise India’s huge biodiversity, undermine progress in building strong local farming systems and destroy India’s hope for food sovereignty.

No one had imagined that the key concerns which made India pull out of RCEP, would be swept aside as the government negotiates yet another disastrous trade deal, this time with the United States. The US-India FTA poses much bigger challenges for India’s rural communities and agriculture sector. It would greatly compromise India’s huge biodiversity, undermine progress in building strong local farming systems and destroy India’s hope for food sovereignty.

Food retail in times of Covid-19

The first wave of lockdown measures that governments applied triggered panic buying of food, as people, fearing possible shortages, filled up their kitchens and pantries with food supplies to last several weeks. As the restrictions on movement became tighter and as the lockdowns continued, people began to turn more and more to e-retailers for their food purchases.

The first wave of lockdown measures that governments applied triggered panic buying of food, as people, fearing possible shortages, filled up their kitchens and pantries with food supplies to last several weeks. As the restrictions on movement became tighter and as the lockdowns continued, people began to turn more and more to e-retailers for their food purchases.

Millions forced to choose between hunger or Covid-19

The only question that matters now is how to ensure everyone has access to food while keeping people safe and healthy at every step from farm to consumer. Unfortunately, this has not been the priority that has shaped food systems over the past decades. But getting there is not as complicated as it may appear.

The only question that matters now is how to ensure everyone has access to food while keeping people safe and healthy at every step from farm to consumer. Unfortunately, this has not been the priority that has shaped food systems over the past decades. But getting there is not as complicated as it may appear.

Harvard's land grabs in Brazil are a disaster for communities and a warning to speculators

In an eight year period following the 2008 crisis, Harvard poured over US$1 billion into amassing a global portfolio of farmlands, covering nearly 1 million hectares across five continents. Harvard's farmland strategy took it deep into some of the most conflictual places on the planet when it comes to land and the environment.

In an eight year period following the 2008 crisis, Harvard poured over US$1 billion into amassing a global portfolio of farmlands, covering nearly 1 million hectares across five continents. Harvard's farmland strategy took it deep into some of the most conflictual places on the planet when it comes to land and the environment.

Profits above all: world's largest pork company propagates global pandemics

The WH Group, the world’s largest pork company and owner of Smithfield Foods, is at the centre of two ongoing global pandemics. Its meat plant in the US, where workers have been protesting unsafe conditions, has become one of the largest clusters of Covid-19 in the country. Meanwhile, the company’s farms and slaughterhouses in China and Europe have played key roles in expanding a global outbreak of African swine fever that has already killed over a quarter of the world’s pig population.

The WH Group, the world’s largest pork company and owner of Smithfield Foods, is at the centre of two ongoing global pandemics. Its meat plant in the US, where workers have been protesting unsafe conditions, has become one of the largest clusters of Covid-19 in the country. Meanwhile, the company’s farms and slaughterhouses in China and Europe have played key roles in expanding a global outbreak of African swine fever that has already killed over a quarter of the world’s pig population.

GRAIN's 2019 activity report

As we explore other ways of connecting and organising with partners in this climate of great uncertainty, we would like to share our 2019 activity report. Small dairy farmers pushing back trade deals, communities resisting land grabs by oil palm plantations and the fight to preserve peasants' seeds are just some of last year's highlights, ushering in another round of struggles in 2020 and for the years to come.

As we explore other ways of connecting and organising with partners in this climate of great uncertainty, we would like to share our 2019 activity report. Small dairy farmers pushing back trade deals, communities resisting land grabs by oil palm plantations and the fight to preserve peasants' seeds are just some of last year's highlights, ushering in another round of struggles in 2020 and for the years to come.

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.

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.