Showing posts with label land grab. Show all posts
Showing posts with label land grab. Show all posts

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Being fed lies

An ever-shrinking number of mega-corporations controls an ever-expanding food industry, from seeds to equipment, from chemical inputs to processing, from the farm field to the supermarket shelf.

In America just four companies own approximately 84% of the U.S. beef market. Four firms control 66 percent of the pork-packing market and another four control 58 percent of poultry processing. Four companies own 43% of the world’s commercial seed market.Three companies control 90 % of the global grain trade. Four companies own 48% of grocery retailers. Monsanto, is the largest seed making company and DuPont the second biggest so they may technically be competitors yet a $1.75 billion deal between them ensures that Dupont gets access to Monsanto technology and Monsanto can access DuPont’s massive customer base. Much will be the same for the UK and Europe as in America. All those corporations appear to be recession-proof, having in recent years increased their profit margins.

Our food comes in vacuum-packed plastic bags, in boxes, bottles, jars and cans -- but it isn't really food. It's food stuff. It doesn't come from an animal or plant; it's made in a plant, rolled off an assembly line. It's processed with sugar salt and fat to be addictive. Its not just the manufacture of processed foods, it is us who are being processed too. Processed food tastes good and the added ingredients and chemicals ensure we keep coming back for more...and more.

The food industry just want to make money. Manufacturers and retailerswho sell junk food don't much care for the truth about food. The obesity, heart disease and diabetes epidemics they are causing is of no concern to them. There are now health experts predicting that our children will have shorter life expectancies that we have.

Land-grabbing by the multi-nationals is nothing new, the most obvious example being the fruit plantations of the Central American - the aptly nick-named - “banana republics.” Oxfam reports that in the past decade, an area of land equal to eight times the size of the U.K. has been sold in rapidly accelerating global land transactions. Nor is it the usual imperialist western powers which the Leninists love to blame. A Brazilian-Japanese venture is planning to farm 54,000 square miles of land in northern Mozambique for food exports. These agribusiness schemes exacerbate the problem in areas of chronic hunger and malnourishment and have farmers growing cash crops for export, rather than food crops for consumption. In Sudan the United Arab Emirates was growing sorghum – a Sudanese food staple — to feed camels. Indian corporations’ are active in Ethiopian land-grabs. Anuradha Mittal of the Oakland Institute calls it a “new form of colonization.”

Meanwhile a French newspaper reports upon food scavenging from the garbage of the supermarkets. In France, 1.2 million tons of food is thrown away every year – about 20 kilos per person per year. Of these 20 kilos, seven kilos are still in their packaging, and 13 kilos are leftovers and fruits and vegetables.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Buying Scotland

Billionaire Danish fashion magnate, Anders Holch Povlsen, has become the second-largest private landowner in Britain with the purchase of the 20,000 acre Gaick estate in Inverness-shire.

 Povlsen already owns the Glenfeshie, Ben Loyal and Kinloch estates, has increased the 43-year-old's land portfolio in Scotland to around 150,000 acres. It is second only to that of the Buccleuch Estates, with an estimated 280,000 acres. He has been criticised in some quarters for mounting a "land grab" of Scotland to take advantage of farming subsidies.

Rob Gibson MSP, a member of the Scottish Government's Land Reform Review Group, told The Herald: "It will be interesting to see what plans this gentleman has in terms of biodiversity and the local community. Some estates are used as private kingdoms by their owners..."

Povlsen, whose family owns Bestseller, the Danish fashion company that last year had a turnover of £2bn, also has substantial farming interests in his home country and owns areas of forestry in Romania.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Oxfam warn about land grab

The global rush for international companies to grab lands for private sector investments in most Southeast Asian countries has put their poorest people at high risks of hunger in its latest report, Oxfam, warned. 

In developing countries in Asia, some 945 million are estimated to be living in absolute poverty.

The irony couldn’t be sharper and more painful in Asia where poor people who grow food for a living comprise the poorest segments of the economy and are scarcely able to eat.  In many countries, 80% of the population are farmers, as are 80% of the chronically hungry.

Norly Grace Mercado, Oxfam’s East Asia regional spokesperson said that “Global land grabs and, in particular, the upsurge of areas devoted to bio-fuel production have sent food prices in a tizzy, making it harder for poor people to buy affordable food,”

 227 million hectares of land, including coastal land, in developing countries have been sold or leased since 2001, mostly to international investors.

Nobel Prize winner professor Amartya Sen was instrumental in pointing out that food security was not just about producing more food, but ensuring the needy had access to it. There can be plenty of food in shops, as was true of the famines in Ireland in the 19th century and West Bengal in the 1940s, but if poor people cannot afford to buy that food, they will go hungry.