GRAIN calls for end to land grabbing at Swedish Parliament

On 5 December 2011, GRAIN received the 2011 Right Livelihood Award, often referred to as the ‘Alternative Nobel Prize’,  at the Swedish Parliament in Stockholm. GRAIN was awarded “for its worldwide work to protect the livelihoods and rights of farming communities and to expose the massive purchases of farmland in developing countries by foreign financial interests”. GRAIN seized on the opportunity to demand an immediate end to land grabbing and a restitution of lands to local communities. The following speech was delivered to the Swedish Parliament by GRAIN coordinator Henk Hobbelink during the Awards Ceremony.

On 5 December 2011, GRAIN received the 2011 Right Livelihood Award, often referred to as the ‘Alternative Nobel Prize’,  at the Swedish Parliament in Stockholm. GRAIN was awarded “for its worldwide work to protect the livelihoods and rights of farming communities and to expose the massive purchases of farmland in developing countries by foreign financial interests”. GRAIN seized on the opportunity to demand an immediate end to land grabbing and a restitution of lands to local communities. The following speech was delivered to the Swedish Parliament by GRAIN coordinator Henk Hobbelink during the Awards Ceremony.

Thank you!

...for all the feedback, congratulations and messages of support. On 29 September, it was announced that GRAIN has been selected as one of four recipients of the 2011 Right Livelihood Award, more commonly known as "the alternative Nobel prize".

...for all the feedback, congratulations and messages of support. On 29 September, it was announced that GRAIN has been selected as one of four recipients of the 2011 Right Livelihood Award, more commonly known as "the alternative Nobel prize".

Food and climate change: the forgotten link

Food is a key driver of climate change. How our food gets produced and how it ends up on our tables accounts for around half of all human-generated greenhouse gas emissions. A new food system could be key driver of solutions to climate change. We don’t need carbon markets or techno-fixes. If measures are taken to restructure agriculture and the larger food system around food sovereignty, small scale farming, agro-ecology and local markets, we could cut global emissions in half within a few decades.

Food is a key driver of climate change. How our food gets produced and how it ends up on our tables accounts for around half of all human-generated greenhouse gas emissions. A new food system could be key driver of solutions to climate change. We don’t need carbon markets or techno-fixes. If measures are taken to restructure agriculture and the larger food system around food sovereignty, small scale farming, agro-ecology and local markets, we could cut global emissions in half within a few decades.

Nigerian farmer leader talks about resistance to land grabs

Interview with Olaseinde Makanjuola Arigbede of the United Small and Medium scale Farmers' Associations of Nigeria (USMEFAN)

Interview with Olaseinde Makanjuola Arigbede of the United Small and Medium scale Farmers' Associations of Nigeria (USMEFAN)

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Pension funds: key players in the global farmland grab

Large scale agricultural land acquisitions are generating conflicts and controversies around the world. A growing body of reports show that these projects are bad for local communities and that they promote the wrong kind of agriculture for a world in the grips of serious food and environmental crises. Yet funds continue to flow to overseas farmland like iron to a magnet. Why? Because of the financial returns. And some of the biggest players looking to profit from farmland are pension funds, with billions of dollars invested.

Large scale agricultural land acquisitions are generating conflicts and controversies around the world. A growing body of reports show that these projects are bad for local communities and that they promote the wrong kind of agriculture for a world in the grips of serious food and environmental crises. Yet funds continue to flow to overseas farmland like iron to a magnet. Why? Because of the financial returns. And some of the biggest players looking to profit from farmland are pension funds, with billions of dollars invested.

The IMF: Violating women since 1945

As Dominique Strauss Kahn sits in a New York jail, Christine Ahn and Kavita Ramdas draw the link between the rape charges filed against him and the IMF's policies of systematic rape of the earth -- including the privatisation of seeds, land, water, forests and fisheries.

As Dominique Strauss Kahn sits in a New York jail, Christine Ahn and Kavita Ramdas draw the link between the rape charges filed against him and the IMF's policies of systematic rape of the earth -- including the privatisation of seeds, land, water, forests and fisheries.

Food safety for whom? Corporate wealth versus people's health

School children in the US were served 200,000 kilos of meat contaminated with a deadly antibiotic-resistant bacteria before the nation's second largest meat packer issued a recall in 2009. A year earlier, six babies died and 300,000 others got horribly sick with kidney problems in China when one of the country's top dairy producers knowingly allowed an industrial chemical into its milk supply. Across the world, people are getting sick and dying from food like never before. Governments and corporations are responding with all kinds of rules and regulations, but few have anything to do with public health. The trade agreements, laws and private standards used to impose their version of "food safety" only entrench corporate food systems that make us sick and devastate those that truly feed and care for people, those based on biodiversity, traditional knowledge, and local markets. People are resisting, whether its movements against GMOs in Benin and "mad cow" beef in Korea or campaigns to defend street hawkers in India and raw milk in Colombia. The question of who defines "food safety" is increasingly central to the struggle over the future of food and agriculture. Read the synopsis of this report here.

School children in the US were served 200,000 kilos of meat contaminated with a deadly antibiotic-resistant bacteria before the nation's second largest meat packer issued a recall in 2009. A year earlier, six babies died and 300,000 others got horribly sick with kidney problems in China when one of the country's top dairy producers knowingly allowed an industrial chemical into its milk supply. Across the world, people are getting sick and dying from food like never before. Governments and corporations are responding with all kinds of rules and regulations, but few have anything to do with public health. The trade agreements, laws and private standards used to impose their version of "food safety" only entrench corporate food systems that make us sick and devastate those that truly feed and care for people, those based on biodiversity, traditional knowledge, and local markets. People are resisting, whether its movements against GMOs in Benin and "mad cow" beef in Korea or campaigns to defend street hawkers in India and raw milk in Colombia. The question of who defines "food safety" is increasingly central to the struggle over the future of food and agriculture. Read the synopsis of this report here.

It's time to outlaw land grabbing, not to make it 'responsible'!

On 18-20 April 2011, a gathering of some 200 farmland investors, government officials and international civil servants will meet at the World Bank headquarters in Washington DC to discuss how to operationalise "responsible" large-scale land acquisitions. Over in Rome, the Committee on World Food Security, housed at the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation, is about to start a process of consultation on principles to regulate such deals. Social movements and civil society organisations (CSOs), on the other hand, are mobilising to stop land grabs, and undo the ones already coming into play, as a matter of utmost urgency. Why do the World Bank, UN agencies and a number of highly concerned governments insist on trying to promote these land grab deals as "responsible agricultural investments"?

On 18-20 April 2011, a gathering of some 200 farmland investors, government officials and international civil servants will meet at the World Bank headquarters in Washington DC to discuss how to operationalise "responsible" large-scale land acquisitions. Over in Rome, the Committee on World Food Security, housed at the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation, is about to start a process of consultation on principles to regulate such deals. Social movements and civil society organisations (CSOs), on the other hand, are mobilising to stop land grabs, and undo the ones already coming into play, as a matter of utmost urgency. Why do the World Bank, UN agencies and a number of highly concerned governments insist on trying to promote these land grab deals as "responsible agricultural investments"?

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New agricultural agreement in Argentina: A land grabber’s “instruction manual”

The Government of the Province of Río Negro, Argentina, and one of China's largest agribusiness companies are moving forward on an agreement that hands over thousands of hectares of land for the production of soybean and cereal crops for export. The Río Negro provincial government has touted this project as a “food production agreement” but local communities and people across Argentina are voicing their opposition, denouncing it as a land giveaway for industrial soy production. They call the agreement “a land grabber’s instruction manual”. This issue of Against the grain gives the details.

The Government of the Province of Río Negro, Argentina, and one of China's largest agribusiness companies are moving forward on an agreement that hands over thousands of hectares of land for the production of soybean and cereal crops for export. The Río Negro provincial government has touted this project as a “food production agreement” but local communities and people across Argentina are voicing their opposition, denouncing it as a land giveaway for industrial soy production. They call the agreement “a land grabber’s instruction manual”. This issue of Against the grain gives the details.

Saudi investors poised to take control of rice production in Senegal and Mali?

Saudi Arabia's strategy to outsource food production will be at the top of the agenda when several heads of state and high-level delegations from African countries arrive in Riyadh for an investor conference on December 4, 2010. In some of these countries, Saudi investors are already acquiring farmland and starting to put the Kingdom's policies into operation. One of their main targets is West Africa's rice lands. New information obtained by GRAIN shows that the Kingdom's most powerful businessmen are pursuing deals in Senegal, Mali and other countries that would give them control over several hundred thousand hectares of the region's most productive farmlands to produce rice for export to Saudi Arabia. The deals will severely undermine national food security and destroy the livelihoods of millions of farmers and pastoralists. All of this is transpiring behind closed doors with African governments and without the knowledge of the affected people or the general public.

Saudi Arabia's strategy to outsource food production will be at the top of the agenda when several heads of state and high-level delegations from African countries arrive in Riyadh for an investor conference on December 4, 2010. In some of these countries, Saudi investors are already acquiring farmland and starting to put the Kingdom's policies into operation. One of their main targets is West Africa's rice lands. New information obtained by GRAIN shows that the Kingdom's most powerful businessmen are pursuing deals in Senegal, Mali and other countries that would give them control over several hundred thousand hectares of the region's most productive farmlands to produce rice for export to Saudi Arabia. The deals will severely undermine national food security and destroy the livelihoods of millions of farmers and pastoralists. All of this is transpiring behind closed doors with African governments and without the knowledge of the affected people or the general public.

The new farm owners: corporate investors lead the rush for control over overseas farmland

The two big global crises that erupted in 2008 – the world food crisis and the broader financial crisis that the food crisis has been part of are together spawning a new and disturbing trend towards buying up land for outsourced food production. For the past two years, investors have been scrambling to take control of farmland in in Asia, Africa and Latin America. A background article on landgrabbing by GRAIN, published as a chapter in the Monthly Review Press book  'Agriculture and food in crisis'.

The two big global crises that erupted in 2008 – the world food crisis and the broader financial crisis that the food crisis has been part of are together spawning a new and disturbing trend towards buying up land for outsourced food production. For the past two years, investors have been scrambling to take control of farmland in in Asia, Africa and Latin America. A background article on landgrabbing by GRAIN, published as a chapter in the Monthly Review Press book  'Agriculture and food in crisis'.