Blog

The blog is a place where GRAIN staff and others post their comments, suggestions, hints and assessments of documents, places or events. Or just share information that we think is interesting.

Bringing farming back to nature

Farming the land as if nature doesn’t matter has been the model for much of the Western world’s food production system for at least the past 75 years. The results haven’t been pretty: depleted soil, chemically fouled waters, true family farms all but eliminated, a worsening of public health and more. But an approach that combines innovation and tradition has emerged, one that could transform the way we grow food. It’s called agroecology, and it places ecological science at the center of agriculture. It’s a scrappy movement that’s taking off globally.

Farming the land as if nature doesn’t matter has been the model for much of the Western world’s food production system for at least the past 75 years. The results haven’t been pretty: depleted soil, chemically fouled waters, true family farms all but eliminated, a worsening of public health and more. But an approach that combines innovation and tradition has emerged, one that could transform the way we grow food. It’s called agroecology, and it places ecological science at the center of agriculture. It’s a scrappy movement that’s taking off globally.

Via Campesina reports on climate justice and agroecology in Africa

Via Campesina published a number of interesting papers on agroecology and climate justice in Southern and Eastern Africa. They include country reports from Uganda, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Tanzania, and a general overview booklet, and contain interesting perspectives from farmers on the ground and examples on how they are already dealing with climate change.

Via Campesina published a number of interesting papers on agroecology and climate justice in Southern and Eastern Africa. They include country reports from Uganda, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Tanzania, and a general overview booklet, and contain interesting perspectives from farmers on the ground and examples on how they are already dealing with climate change.

Norwegian climate policy affects the poorest

Many are aware that global climate change is likely to hit poor people the hardest. Few, on the other hand, know that there are measures to mitigate climate change in the Global South that today are implemented to the detriment of poor people. Even fewer are aware of Norway’s central role.

Many are aware that global climate change is likely to hit poor people the hardest. Few, on the other hand, know that there are measures to mitigate climate change in the Global South that today are implemented to the detriment of poor people. Even fewer are aware of Norway’s central role.

Silencing human rights and environmental defenders: the overuse of Strategic Lawsuits against Public Participation (SLAPP) by corporations

Over the last few years, more and more corporations have used litigation as a tool to attack the credibility of human rights and environmental defenders. This phenomenon is part of what has been labelled, Strategic Litigation against Public Participation; more commonly referred to as SLAPP.  SLAPP is increasingly used by corporations against individuals, or civil society organisations, which have criticised or made public allegations against the corporation’s actions, notably regarding allegations of environmental degradation or human rights abuses. It is not an entirely new strategy as the concept of SLAPP was conceptualised in the United-States during the 1970s, but we have recently experienced an exponential increase of SLAPPs used as a retaliatory mechanism against human rights and environmental defenders. The Business and Human Rights Resources, which is one of the leading international civil society organisations working on issues of corporate responsibilities for human rights violations, recently published a briefing on corporate legal accountability highlighting the amplitude of the phenomenon.  

Over the last few years, more and more corporations have used litigation as a tool to attack the credibility of human rights and environmental defenders. This phenomenon is part of what has been labelled, Strategic Litigation against Public Participation; more commonly referred to as SLAPP.  SLAPP is increasingly used by corporations against individuals, or civil society organisations, which have criticised or made public allegations against the corporation’s actions, notably regarding allegations of environmental degradation or human rights abuses. It is not an entirely new strategy as the concept of SLAPP was conceptualised in the United-States during the 1970s, but we have recently experienced an exponential increase of SLAPPs used as a retaliatory mechanism against human rights and environmental defenders. The Business and Human Rights Resources, which is one of the leading international civil society organisations working on issues of corporate responsibilities for human rights violations, recently published a briefing on corporate legal accountability highlighting the amplitude of the phenomenon.  

Campaign reiterates opposition to ProSavana in Mozambique

The No to ProSavana Campaign has learned, in the report from the latest meeting on ProSavana chaired by the Minister of Agriculture and Food Security on April 4, that the governments of Mozambique, Brazil and Japan are moving to implement the ProSavana program in northern Mozambique, ignoring broad opposition by peasants, Mozambican men and women and civil society organizations, whether members of not of the No to ProSavana Campaign. The report clearly states that “It is necessary to move forward. We will not all think alike. Some do not want to, but it is necessary to move forward.”  

The No to ProSavana Campaign has learned, in the report from the latest meeting on ProSavana chaired by the Minister of Agriculture and Food Security on April 4, that the governments of Mozambique, Brazil and Japan are moving to implement the ProSavana program in northern Mozambique, ignoring broad opposition by peasants, Mozambican men and women and civil society organizations, whether members of not of the No to ProSavana Campaign. The report clearly states that “It is necessary to move forward. We will not all think alike. Some do not want to, but it is necessary to move forward.”  

Mozambique won’t be Mato Grosso

In the Mozambican village of Nakarari, deep in the bush of the Mutuali district, 2,000km north of Maputo, 40 villagers were meeting under a mango tree; children played around them, jumping with excitement whenever a fruit dropped. The villagers were hoping that a popular movement centred on Nakarari had dealt a fatal blow to Africa’s biggest agro-industrial programme, ProSavana. A popular movement centred on a small farming village in northern Mozambique has, for the moment, halted an attempt to move to cash-crop monocultures mainly for export.

In the Mozambican village of Nakarari, deep in the bush of the Mutuali district, 2,000km north of Maputo, 40 villagers were meeting under a mango tree; children played around them, jumping with excitement whenever a fruit dropped. The villagers were hoping that a popular movement centred on Nakarari had dealt a fatal blow to Africa’s biggest agro-industrial programme, ProSavana. A popular movement centred on a small farming village in northern Mozambique has, for the moment, halted an attempt to move to cash-crop monocultures mainly for export.

Walmart-Flipkart deal: continuing attack on retailers, producers, farmers and labour, and on India's digital sovereignty

The US based Multinational Corporation (MNC) Walmart’s acquisition of Flipkart undermines India’s economic and digital sovereignty and the livelihood of millions in India. If the $ 16 billion deal goes through, two US companies (the other being Amazon) will dominate India’s e-retail sector. They will also own India’s key consumer and other economic data, making them our digital overlords, joining the ranks of Google and Facebook.  

The US based Multinational Corporation (MNC) Walmart’s acquisition of Flipkart undermines India’s economic and digital sovereignty and the livelihood of millions in India. If the $ 16 billion deal goes through, two US companies (the other being Amazon) will dominate India’s e-retail sector. They will also own India’s key consumer and other economic data, making them our digital overlords, joining the ranks of Google and Facebook.  

How EU milk is sinking Africa’s farmers

European multinationals are aggressively pursuing one of milk’s few growth markets, where locals say they can’t compete. A good artible by Politico.

European multinationals are aggressively pursuing one of milk’s few growth markets, where locals say they can’t compete. A good artible by Politico.

Harvard land ownership in Brazil scrutinized in title dispute

Another Harvard University farmland investment in Brazil may go awry. The prosecutor’s office in the state of Bahia said it’s reviewing allegations that a company linked to Harvard’s endowment isn’t the rightful owner of land in the region, and it’s determining whether to sue to reclaim the titles.  

Another Harvard University farmland investment in Brazil may go awry. The prosecutor’s office in the state of Bahia said it’s reviewing allegations that a company linked to Harvard’s endowment isn’t the rightful owner of land in the region, and it’s determining whether to sue to reclaim the titles.  

Seeds of neo-colonialism – Why the GMO promoters get it so wrong about Africa

The GMO lobby is showing signs of desperation. Once again they are on the offensive with a major public relations push targeting East Africa, particularly Uganda, in an attempt to subvert African policy development towards their own narrow ends. Their immediate goal is to weaken national biosafety laws, thereby removing any barriers to their access to African markets for their contentious high-risk products. Specifically, they want to remove the ‘strict liability’ clauses and thereby avoid any responsibility; avoid having to pay compensation for any damage that they do; avoid labelling so that African people are prohibited from knowing if their food is genetically modified; and avoid any punishment that African laws can impose.

The GMO lobby is showing signs of desperation. Once again they are on the offensive with a major public relations push targeting East Africa, particularly Uganda, in an attempt to subvert African policy development towards their own narrow ends. Their immediate goal is to weaken national biosafety laws, thereby removing any barriers to their access to African markets for their contentious high-risk products. Specifically, they want to remove the ‘strict liability’ clauses and thereby avoid any responsibility; avoid having to pay compensation for any damage that they do; avoid labelling so that African people are prohibited from knowing if their food is genetically modified; and avoid any punishment that African laws can impose.

Indigenous organisations outraged by Ethiopian government’s new land deal with iconic land grabber Karuturi

The Anywaa Survival Organisation (ASO) is outraged by recent news reports that the Ethiopian government is providing a new lease of lands to disgraced land grabber Karuturi Global Ltd.

The Anywaa Survival Organisation (ASO) is outraged by recent news reports that the Ethiopian government is providing a new lease of lands to disgraced land grabber Karuturi Global Ltd.

Canada - A strange permit for GMO golden rice

In March 2018, the Canadian Ministry of Health authorized the marketing of the controversial Golden Rice, which is genetically modified to produce beta-carotene that the human body will transform into vitamin A. The International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), the source of this application, declared that this Golden Rice was not meant for sale in Canada as of now. Is this a way of encouraging Asian countries to authorize it as well?  

In March 2018, the Canadian Ministry of Health authorized the marketing of the controversial Golden Rice, which is genetically modified to produce beta-carotene that the human body will transform into vitamin A. The International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), the source of this application, declared that this Golden Rice was not meant for sale in Canada as of now. Is this a way of encouraging Asian countries to authorize it as well?  

Free at last: charges against indigenous land rights defender & former World Bank inspection panel translator dropped

Today, charges against Pastor Omot Agwa, an indigenous land rights defender from the Gambella region of Ethiopia, were finally dropped by an Ethiopian court.

Today, charges against Pastor Omot Agwa, an indigenous land rights defender from the Gambella region of Ethiopia, were finally dropped by an Ethiopian court.

Cerrado: US investment spurs land theft and deforestation in Brazil

Excellent investigative article, which shows how Harvard’s endowment fund in involved in a massvie land grab in Brazil

Excellent investigative article, which shows how Harvard’s endowment fund in involved in a massvie land grab in Brazil