Corporations

GRAIN’s central focus is to support social movements across the world in their resistance to the growing corporate control over food production, markets and trade. We undertake research on how corporations – including agribusiness, large retail and the finance industry – displace millions of small-scale food producers and how trade and investment deals impose the legal conditions for it. 

Apart from our information work, we also support the efforts of partners and peoples’ movements to improve strategies, cooperation and popular action to challenge corporate power, and build capacity with them to achieve this.

Open letter to the people of China, President Xi Jin-ping and Premier Li Ke-qiang concerning ChemChina's acquisition of Syngenta

The undersigned representatives of civil society organisations convey our concerns and express our opposition to what would be the biggest acquisition by a Chinese company to date—ChemChina's bid to acquire Syngenta Corporation, the inventor and primary manufacturer of highly hazardous agrochemicals, including atrazine and paraquat.

The undersigned representatives of civil society organisations convey our concerns and express our opposition to what would be the biggest acquisition by a Chinese company to date—ChemChina's bid to acquire Syngenta Corporation, the inventor and primary manufacturer of highly hazardous agrochemicals, including atrazine and paraquat.

The secretive trade agreements that could scupper climate change ​action​

While all the focus and hope for tackling climate change is on COP 21 in Paris, starting today, secretive global trade deals are already negating any commitments that might be made at the summit. The texts from the various trade agreements, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), make it clear that they will increase production, trade and consumption of fossil fuels. An article by GRAIN for the Guardian.

While all the focus and hope for tackling climate change is on COP 21 in Paris, starting today, secretive global trade deals are already negating any commitments that might be made at the summit. The texts from the various trade agreements, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), make it clear that they will increase production, trade and consumption of fossil fuels. An article by GRAIN for the Guardian.

Corporations replace peasants as the "vanguard" of China's new food security agenda

Food security has always been a top priority for China's rulers. Up until recently that meant ensuring enough food was produced in China to feed the entire population, and this task fell almost entirely to China's peasant farmers. Over the past couple of decades, however, the government has embraced trade agreements that oblige China to import foods and implemented policies that favour the development of larger farms and massive agribusiness and food corporations.  

Food security has always been a top priority for China's rulers. Up until recently that meant ensuring enough food was produced in China to feed the entire population, and this task fell almost entirely to China's peasant farmers. Over the past couple of decades, however, the government has embraced trade agreements that oblige China to import foods and implemented policies that favour the development of larger farms and massive agribusiness and food corporations.  

Trade deals boosting climate change: the food factor

The climate talks in Paris in December this year are viewed as a last chance for the world's governments to commit to binding targets that might halt our march towards catastrophe. But in the countdown to Paris, many of these same governments have signed or are pushing a raft of ambitious trade and investment deals that would pre-empt measures that they could take to deal with climate change

The climate talks in Paris in December this year are viewed as a last chance for the world's governments to commit to binding targets that might halt our march towards catastrophe. But in the countdown to Paris, many of these same governments have signed or are pushing a raft of ambitious trade and investment deals that would pre-empt measures that they could take to deal with climate change

Socially responsible farmland investment: a growing trap

Rules on how to “responsibly” invest in farmland are popping up all over the place, from corporate boardrooms to UN meeting halls. But do they really help communities whose lands are being targeted or do they just help investors and the governments that are complicit with them? Where should we—as social movements trying to support communities—focus our efforts? Does it make sense to fight land grabbing by adopting rules on how to do it more responsibly? In this discussion paper, GRAIN aims to stimulate reflection and discussion on these important questions.

Rules on how to “responsibly” invest in farmland are popping up all over the place, from corporate boardrooms to UN meeting halls. But do they really help communities whose lands are being targeted or do they just help investors and the governments that are complicit with them? Where should we—as social movements trying to support communities—focus our efforts? Does it make sense to fight land grabbing by adopting rules on how to do it more responsibly? In this discussion paper, GRAIN aims to stimulate reflection and discussion on these important questions.

Agro-colonialism in the Congo: European and US development finance bankrolls a new round of agro-colonialism in the DRC

How did several of the world's most prominent DFIs come to own Feronia Inc., a Canadian agribusiness company that people in the DRC say is illegally occupying their land, subjecting them to horrific work in plantations and leaving their communities destitute?

How did several of the world's most prominent DFIs come to own Feronia Inc., a Canadian agribusiness company that people in the DRC say is illegally occupying their land, subjecting them to horrific work in plantations and leaving their communities destitute?

Free trade and Mexico’s junk food epidemic

Transnational food companies are taking over traditional distribution channels in the South and replacing local foods with cheap, processed junk food, often with the direct support of governments. Free trade and investment agreements have been critical to their success. The case of Mexico provides a stark picture of the consequences for the world's poorest people.

Transnational food companies are taking over traditional distribution channels in the South and replacing local foods with cheap, processed junk food, often with the direct support of governments. Free trade and investment agreements have been critical to their success. The case of Mexico provides a stark picture of the consequences for the world's poorest people.

Structural reforms, free trade agreements and the war on subsistence

During twenty workshops, five pre-hearings, a final hearing and a complementary hearing of the Permanent People's Tribunal in Mexico, various communities and organisations exposed the vast and systematic character of the attack against the peasantry and independent food production. The purpose of this text is to present the Mexican case as a mirror in which other countries may see the first hand effects of the subordination implicit in free trade agreements.

During twenty workshops, five pre-hearings, a final hearing and a complementary hearing of the Permanent People's Tribunal in Mexico, various communities and organisations exposed the vast and systematic character of the attack against the peasantry and independent food production. The purpose of this text is to present the Mexican case as a mirror in which other countries may see the first hand effects of the subordination implicit in free trade agreements.

Defending people's milk in India

The vibrant network of small producers and milk cooperatives that makes up most of India's dairy sector is a powerful model: one which is now threatened by free trade agreements and liberalised investment policies.

The vibrant network of small producers and milk cooperatives that makes up most of India's dairy sector is a powerful model: one which is now threatened by free trade agreements and liberalised investment policies.

Who will feed China: agribusiness or its own farmers? Decisions in Beijing echo around the world

China is now the world’s largest global food market. What Chinese people eat has repercussions on everyone, because of the increasingly global reach of how and where that food is produced. When China began importing soybeans as animal feed in the late 1990s to support the growth of its factory farms, it ushered in a dramatic agricultural transformation in both China and Latin America. Now Beijing is moving down the same path with maize, its other major feed crop, and global corporations and Chinese companies are scrambling to develop and control centers of supply for this potentially huge market. The fallout is already being felt around the globe: from rural exodus in China, to farmland grabs in Africa, to food inflation in Shanghai triggered by drought in the US. China can and should reverse course by shifting away from industrial meat production to small scale livestock farming based on local sources of feed.

China is now the world’s largest global food market. What Chinese people eat has repercussions on everyone, because of the increasingly global reach of how and where that food is produced. When China began importing soybeans as animal feed in the late 1990s to support the growth of its factory farms, it ushered in a dramatic agricultural transformation in both China and Latin America. Now Beijing is moving down the same path with maize, its other major feed crop, and global corporations and Chinese companies are scrambling to develop and control centers of supply for this potentially huge market. The fallout is already being felt around the globe: from rural exodus in China, to farmland grabs in Africa, to food inflation in Shanghai triggered by drought in the US. China can and should reverse course by shifting away from industrial meat production to small scale livestock farming based on local sources of feed.

The great milk robbery: How corporations are stealing livelihoods and a vital source of nutrition from the poor

Milk is taking on ever-greater importance in the livelihoods and health of the world's poor. Most of the dairy markets that serve the poor are supplied by small-scale vendors who collect milk from farmers who own just a few dairy animals. But such systems of "people's milk" are in direct competition with the ambitions of big dairy companies, such as Nestlé, and a growing number of other wealthy players that want to take over the entire dairy chain in the South, from the farms to the markets. A battle over dairy is under way that will profoundly shape the direction of the global food system and people's lives.  

Milk is taking on ever-greater importance in the livelihoods and health of the world's poor. Most of the dairy markets that serve the poor are supplied by small-scale vendors who collect milk from farmers who own just a few dairy animals. But such systems of "people's milk" are in direct competition with the ambitions of big dairy companies, such as Nestlé, and a growing number of other wealthy players that want to take over the entire dairy chain in the South, from the farms to the markets. A battle over dairy is under way that will profoundly shape the direction of the global food system and people's lives.  

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.

Big Meat is growing in the South

People in the South appear to be eating a lot more meat these days. The UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) says that per capita meat consumption in developing countries doubled between 1980 and 2005, while the consumption of eggs more than tripled. What happened? According to some, the main factor has been rising incomes in Asia. But the bigger factor is on the supply side. Agribusiness corporations, backed by massive subsidies and government support, have ramped up global industrial meat production to formidable levels over recent decades, with devastating consequences for people, animals and the environment. Much of this is now happening in the South, where a rising group of home-grown transnational corporations (TNCs) is joining ranks with the older firms from the North to push Big Meat into every corner of the planet.

People in the South appear to be eating a lot more meat these days. The UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) says that per capita meat consumption in developing countries doubled between 1980 and 2005, while the consumption of eggs more than tripled. What happened? According to some, the main factor has been rising incomes in Asia. But the bigger factor is on the supply side. Agribusiness corporations, backed by massive subsidies and government support, have ramped up global industrial meat production to formidable levels over recent decades, with devastating consequences for people, animals and the environment. Much of this is now happening in the South, where a rising group of home-grown transnational corporations (TNCs) is joining ranks with the older firms from the North to push Big Meat into every corner of the planet.

A food system that kills - Swine flu is meat industry's latest plague

Mexico is in the midst of a hellish repeat of Asia's bird flu experience, though on a more deadly scale. Once again, the official response from public authorities has come too late and bungled in cover-ups. And once again, the global meat industry is at the centre of the story, ramping up denials as the weight of evidence about its role grows. Just five years after the start of the H5N1 bird flu crisis, and after as many years of a global strategy against influenza pandemics coordinated by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), the world is now reeling from a swine flu disaster. The global strategy has failed and needs to be replaced with a public health system that the public can trust.

Mexico is in the midst of a hellish repeat of Asia's bird flu experience, though on a more deadly scale. Once again, the official response from public authorities has come too late and bungled in cover-ups. And once again, the global meat industry is at the centre of the story, ramping up denials as the weight of evidence about its role grows. Just five years after the start of the H5N1 bird flu crisis, and after as many years of a global strategy against influenza pandemics coordinated by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), the world is now reeling from a swine flu disaster. The global strategy has failed and needs to be replaced with a public health system that the public can trust.