The world faced many steep challenges in 2016. Corporations continued their assault on local food systems, farmer-controlled seeds, peasant lands and indigenous territories. And the communities and activists defending their lands and livelihoods continued to do so at great risk to their safety—often facing brutal and even deadly repression. But people’s movements are not backing down.
In Asia, farmers, women's organisations, health activists and other groups worked together to build alliances to defeat the mega-regional trade deal known as RCEP. Communities struggled to protect spaces for local markets and street vendors, and stood up against massive corporate mergers like ChemChina’s acquisition of Syngenta. In Latin America, social organisations mounted powerful resistance efforts to stop the Trans-Pacific Partnership and national-level “Monsanto seed laws” that would devastate biodiversity and local seed management. They resisted land grabs including those pushed by North American and European pension funds and asserted women’s right to land and resources. In Africa, groups mobilised to get to the bottom of controversial land deals involving European development finance institutions and shared strategies to resist the expansion of corporate oil palm monocultures.
Around the world, a lot of work went into protecting and strengthening small-scale peasant agriculture as a more just, equitable, democratic and sustainable solution to feeding people. Training workshops and schools on agroecology were essential to this, as were advocacy and outreach efforts to build public awareness of how peasant agriculture and local markets are a critical part of the solution to climate change.
In close collaboration with partners in the regions and at the international level, GRAIN worked to support all of these efforts through research and information work, outreach, alliance-strengthening and capacity-building. This activity report shares some of the year’s highlights and the challenges ahead.