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.

Tunis social forum: the climate space

In the upcoming World Social Forum, to be held in Tunis, 25-30 March, a lot of attention will focus on the climate crisis. One element of the debate is how to change the food system to deal with the climate crisis. For more information, visit: http://climatespace2013.wordpress.com/

In the upcoming World Social Forum, to be held in Tunis, 25-30 March, a lot of attention will focus on the climate crisis. One element of the debate is how to change the food system to deal with the climate crisis. For more information, visit: http://climatespace2013.wordpress.com/

USA: The meat industry now consumes four-fifths of all antibiotics

Antibiotic overuse is breeding new and resistant strains of bacteria that infect people. But industrial farms haven't got the message. In 2011 almost 30 million pounds of antibiotics were sold in the US for meat and poulty production. Almost four times as much as those sold to treat sick people! An excellent reflection by Tom Philpott.

Antibiotic overuse is breeding new and resistant strains of bacteria that infect people. But industrial farms haven't got the message. In 2011 almost 30 million pounds of antibiotics were sold in the US for meat and poulty production. Almost four times as much as those sold to treat sick people! An excellent reflection by Tom Philpott.

And now.... GM potatoes in Peru?

After the Mexican government shocked the world last December with its plans to allow for the planting of GM maize in the heart of this crops center of diversity, now the same tragedy seems to be going to be allowed in Peru, the centre of patato diversity. Indigenous people raise the alarm.

After the Mexican government shocked the world last December with its plans to allow for the planting of GM maize in the heart of this crops center of diversity, now the same tragedy seems to be going to be allowed in Peru, the centre of patato diversity. Indigenous people raise the alarm.

Watergrabbing..... and waste!

A new report calculates that up to half of the food produced in the world never makes it to any dinner table, and finds that enormous amounts of water are being squandered in the process. Another report tried to calculate the amount of water to be used by those now grabbing land in poor countries to produce food and fuel for the export market.

A new report calculates that up to half of the food produced in the world never makes it to any dinner table, and finds that enormous amounts of water are being squandered in the process. Another report tried to calculate the amount of water to be used by those now grabbing land in poor countries to produce food and fuel for the export market.

PFU calls for February 9th boycott of Israeli agribusiness

Palestinian Farmers Union invites social movements, nongovernmental organisations, trade unions and human rights campaigners to take creative and effective action on February 9th in support of Palestinian farmers defending their land and natural resources.

Palestinian Farmers Union invites social movements, nongovernmental organisations, trade unions and human rights campaigners to take creative and effective action on February 9th in support of Palestinian farmers defending their land and natural resources.

Agricultural Growth Corridors: the latest idea for Africa?

Agricultural Growth Corridors' increasingly pop up in the promotion literature of donors, corporations and multilateral agencies alike. The latest idea to 'develop' Africa and help it's small farmers, they claim. What's this all about? Two new reports give some background.  

Agricultural Growth Corridors' increasingly pop up in the promotion literature of donors, corporations and multilateral agencies alike. The latest idea to 'develop' Africa and help it's small farmers, they claim. What's this all about? Two new reports give some background.  

Bid to lift hybrid rice yield to 15 tonnes a hectare slammed

Rival researchers say Professor Yuan's bid to reach 15 tonnes a hectare is too costly and risks making rice vulnerable to pests and weather. "The rice was created for one purpose, and that's the personal obsession of Yuan to increase yield."

Rival researchers say Professor Yuan's bid to reach 15 tonnes a hectare is too costly and risks making rice vulnerable to pests and weather. "The rice was created for one purpose, and that's the personal obsession of Yuan to increase yield."

We will not share Monsanto's risk - Open letter to the EBRD

More than 150 organisations, including GRAIN, have called on the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development to not further consider USD 40 million unfunded risk participation in Monsanto's portfolio in Bulgaria, Hungary, Russia, Serbia, Turkey, and Ukraine.

More than 150 organisations, including GRAIN, have called on the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development to not further consider USD 40 million unfunded risk participation in Monsanto's portfolio in Bulgaria, Hungary, Russia, Serbia, Turkey, and Ukraine.

India: GMOs on their way out?

A Technical Expert Committee appointed by the Indian Supreme Court wants all open GMO field trials stopped and calls for a re-examination of biosafety data on all GM crops already in the field and a whole series of limitations to planting GM crops in the country. Here is a note from Nature.com that gives a summary.

A Technical Expert Committee appointed by the Indian Supreme Court wants all open GMO field trials stopped and calls for a re-examination of biosafety data on all GM crops already in the field and a whole series of limitations to planting GM crops in the country. Here is a note from Nature.com that gives a summary.

A reflection on “the idea of a town” and on the reality of cities in an uncertain time

More people in cities than on the countryside? Three years ago, it was announced that the inhabitants of the world’s cities had outnumbered the inhabitants of the countryside. In its 2007 report, the UN Fund stated that 3 billion 300 million persons lived by then in urban milieus. One billion of them dwell in what is called slums. The same report forecasts that, if present tendencies continue, in 2030, 5 billion will be urbanites, 80% of them in so-called “developing countries” and adds “many of these urbanites will be poor”. When the UN says “poor”, it means miserable.  

More people in cities than on the countryside? Three years ago, it was announced that the inhabitants of the world’s cities had outnumbered the inhabitants of the countryside. In its 2007 report, the UN Fund stated that 3 billion 300 million persons lived by then in urban milieus. One billion of them dwell in what is called slums. The same report forecasts that, if present tendencies continue, in 2030, 5 billion will be urbanites, 80% of them in so-called “developing countries” and adds “many of these urbanites will be poor”. When the UN says “poor”, it means miserable.  

Cargill's profits quadruple as world food crisis deepens

The world's largest grain trader made US$1 billion in profits from June to August, as people across the world struggled with rising prices for grains.

The world's largest grain trader made US$1 billion in profits from June to August, as people across the world struggled with rising prices for grains.

Nyéléni newsletter # 11 - Food and Cities

Nearly a quarter of the world’s fresh food is supplied by approximately one billion people who produce fruits and vegetables on urban and peri-urban farms and gardens. While most of this food is consumed by the producers themselves, a substantial part goes directly into urban markets at affordable prices. Given that over half of the world’s economically poor population now live in cities, and given the dangerous volatility of global food markets, this locally-produced food is becoming increasingly important to urban food security.

Nearly a quarter of the world’s fresh food is supplied by approximately one billion people who produce fruits and vegetables on urban and peri-urban farms and gardens. While most of this food is consumed by the producers themselves, a substantial part goes directly into urban markets at affordable prices. Given that over half of the world’s economically poor population now live in cities, and given the dangerous volatility of global food markets, this locally-produced food is becoming increasingly important to urban food security.

Move toward new Pan-African IP organisation alarms observers

A seemingly remote African Union proposal to create a Pan-African Intellectual Property Organization appears to have gained momentum and will come before African science and technology ministers for review in early November, according to sources. A copy of the final draft statutes shows how the new body would operate, and for some observers, how it would elevate African IP standards well above current levels, with “disastrous consequences” for access, development, and human rights.

A seemingly remote African Union proposal to create a Pan-African Intellectual Property Organization appears to have gained momentum and will come before African science and technology ministers for review in early November, according to sources. A copy of the final draft statutes shows how the new body would operate, and for some observers, how it would elevate African IP standards well above current levels, with “disastrous consequences” for access, development, and human rights.