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.

Corporations make a killing milking Africa

Africa's vibrant dairy sector is under threat. Multinational dairy corporations see the continent as a dumping ground for their excess production and as a new frontier for their processed dairy products. They are pushing for regulations, trade measures and agribusiness projects that will undermine local dairy systems and give them monopoly control over Africa's rapidly growing urban markets.

Africa's vibrant dairy sector is under threat. Multinational dairy corporations see the continent as a dumping ground for their excess production and as a new frontier for their processed dairy products. They are pushing for regulations, trade measures and agribusiness projects that will undermine local dairy systems and give them monopoly control over Africa's rapidly growing urban markets.

Governments use a pig pandemic to expand corporate power and crush small farms

A variant of African swine fever that entered Europe in 2007 has laid waste to pig farms in Eastern Europe and Asia and, now, for the first time in 40 years, ASF is back in the Americas. The corporate approach to “biosecurity” will not stop ASF, and it will only make the world more vulnerable to new diseases.

A variant of African swine fever that entered Europe in 2007 has laid waste to pig farms in Eastern Europe and Asia and, now, for the first time in 40 years, ASF is back in the Americas. The corporate approach to “biosecurity” will not stop ASF, and it will only make the world more vulnerable to new diseases.

The corporate attack on Pakistan’s small dairies

Under the banner of pasteurisation and modernisation of the dairy sector, the Government of Pakistan, dairy corporations and international agencies like USAID, are on the offensive to marginalize smallholder dairies. Corporate dairies are not leaving any stone unturned to damage the reputation of fresh, local milk.

Under the banner of pasteurisation and modernisation of the dairy sector, the Government of Pakistan, dairy corporations and international agencies like USAID, are on the offensive to marginalize smallholder dairies. Corporate dairies are not leaving any stone unturned to damage the reputation of fresh, local milk.

Big Food in Africa: Endangering people’s health

In the following publication, we have collected examples from across the African continent that highlight the dangers of the industrial food system, but also demonstrate the pushback taking place from consumers and small producers. These food safety scandals illustrate our argument that the industrial food system does not care about nutrition or health, but of profits.

In the following publication, we have collected examples from across the African continent that highlight the dangers of the industrial food system, but also demonstrate the pushback taking place from consumers and small producers. These food safety scandals illustrate our argument that the industrial food system does not care about nutrition or health, but of profits.

A label for bicycle chicken? Time to ask some questions!

On July 2021, the government of Burkina Faso announced the launch of a project to provide a label for “bicycle chicken”, as local chicken is known there and in other African countries. According to the government, the aim of this label is to protect local Burkina Faso chicken from imported broiler chickens. But how can it be attributed to just one country? And if the aim is to protect a breed of chicken via the market, doesn’t creating a label run the risk of promoting its industrialisation?

On July 2021, the government of Burkina Faso announced the launch of a project to provide a label for “bicycle chicken”, as local chicken is known there and in other African countries. According to the government, the aim of this label is to protect local Burkina Faso chicken from imported broiler chickens. But how can it be attributed to just one country? And if the aim is to protect a breed of chicken via the market, doesn’t creating a label run the risk of promoting its industrialisation?

How the Gates Foundation is driving the food system, in the wrong direction

Over the past 17 years, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has spent nearly US$6 billion on agriculture. In a new report, GRAIN analyses all the food and agriculture grants the foundation has made up until 2020, and reveals that while the Foundation allegedly prioritises African farmers, the vast majority of its funding actually goes to groups in North America and Europe.

Over the past 17 years, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has spent nearly US$6 billion on agriculture. In a new report, GRAIN analyses all the food and agriculture grants the foundation has made up until 2020, and reveals that while the Foundation allegedly prioritises African farmers, the vast majority of its funding actually goes to groups in North America and Europe.

Unmasking the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor

Through an intricate network of roads, railways and other infrastructure, CPEC intends to create a low-cost route and to increase trade between China and Europe, the Middle East and North Africa. But CPEC projects in Pakistan are paving the way for the takeover of important agriculture sectors by private corporations, and the pushing out of local farmers in the process.

Through an intricate network of roads, railways and other infrastructure, CPEC intends to create a low-cost route and to increase trade between China and Europe, the Middle East and North Africa. But CPEC projects in Pakistan are paving the way for the takeover of important agriculture sectors by private corporations, and the pushing out of local farmers in the process.

EFTA-Mercosur: another low blow to climate, peoples’ rights and food sovereignty

The climate impacts of the EFTA-Mercosur trade deal, if it goes ahead, will be significant, even judging by just a few industrially produced farm commodities. We cannot expand global trade and drive down emissions, as is so urgently needed, at the same time. For this reason alone, the deal must be scrapped.

The climate impacts of the EFTA-Mercosur trade deal, if it goes ahead, will be significant, even judging by just a few industrially produced farm commodities. We cannot expand global trade and drive down emissions, as is so urgently needed, at the same time. For this reason alone, the deal must be scrapped.

Digital control: how Big Tech moves into food and farming (and what it means)

The world’s biggest technology companies and distribution platforms, such as Microsoft and Amazon, have started entering the food sector. What does this mean for small farmers and local food systems? This is leading to a strong and powerful integration between the companies that supply products to farmers (pesticides, tractors, drones, etc) and those that control the flow of data and have access to food consumers.

The world’s biggest technology companies and distribution platforms, such as Microsoft and Amazon, have started entering the food sector. What does this mean for small farmers and local food systems? This is leading to a strong and powerful integration between the companies that supply products to farmers (pesticides, tractors, drones, etc) and those that control the flow of data and have access to food consumers.

How the funding of a colonial-era oil palm plantation by European development banks dramatically failed: new report

A new report by an alliance of civil society organisations chronicles one of the most scandalous failures of development bank investment in agriculture. The report details how Europe's largest development banks poured upwards of US$150 million into an oil palm plantation company despite the company's long-standing land conflicts with local communities.

A new report by an alliance of civil society organisations chronicles one of the most scandalous failures of development bank investment in agriculture. The report details how Europe's largest development banks poured upwards of US$150 million into an oil palm plantation company despite the company's long-standing land conflicts with local communities.

Barbarians at the barn: private equity sinks its teeth into agriculture

Financial flows going into agriculture are growing more and more institutionalised – and more and more private. To be sure, investing in agriculture has been going on since time immemorial. After all, farmers do it every day as they improve their soils, set up cooperatives, share knowledge with their children and develop local markets. But since the mid 2000s, institutional investment in agriculture has started growing. From seven agriculture-focused funds in 2004 to more than 300 today, the interest in capturing profits from farming and agribusiness on a global scale is real – and Covid-19 is not slowing things down.

Financial flows going into agriculture are growing more and more institutionalised – and more and more private. To be sure, investing in agriculture has been going on since time immemorial. After all, farmers do it every day as they improve their soils, set up cooperatives, share knowledge with their children and develop local markets. But since the mid 2000s, institutional investment in agriculture has started growing. From seven agriculture-focused funds in 2004 to more than 300 today, the interest in capturing profits from farming and agribusiness on a global scale is real – and Covid-19 is not slowing things down.

What do FTAs mean for African women? A critical look into the African Continental Free Trade Area

The recently ratified African Continental Free Trade Area looms over Africa. Hailed by some as a major milestone of African unity and independence, the ambitions behind the push of this deal by African governments unfortunately reveal a rather corporate agenda that disregards the concerns, livelihoods and aspirations of the continent’s citizens, especially women's.

The recently ratified African Continental Free Trade Area looms over Africa. Hailed by some as a major milestone of African unity and independence, the ambitions behind the push of this deal by African governments unfortunately reveal a rather corporate agenda that disregards the concerns, livelihoods and aspirations of the continent’s citizens, especially women's.

Perils of the US-India free trade agreement for Indian farmers

No one had imagined that the key concerns which made India pull out of RCEP, would be swept aside as the government negotiates yet another disastrous trade deal, this time with the United States. The US-India FTA poses much bigger challenges for India’s rural communities and agriculture sector. It would greatly compromise India’s huge biodiversity, undermine progress in building strong local farming systems and destroy India’s hope for food sovereignty.

No one had imagined that the key concerns which made India pull out of RCEP, would be swept aside as the government negotiates yet another disastrous trade deal, this time with the United States. The US-India FTA poses much bigger challenges for India’s rural communities and agriculture sector. It would greatly compromise India’s huge biodiversity, undermine progress in building strong local farming systems and destroy India’s hope for food sovereignty.

Millions forced to choose between hunger or Covid-19

The only question that matters now is how to ensure everyone has access to food while keeping people safe and healthy at every step from farm to consumer. Unfortunately, this has not been the priority that has shaped food systems over the past decades. But getting there is not as complicated as it may appear.

The only question that matters now is how to ensure everyone has access to food while keeping people safe and healthy at every step from farm to consumer. Unfortunately, this has not been the priority that has shaped food systems over the past decades. But getting there is not as complicated as it may appear.

Profits above all: world's largest pork company propagates global pandemics

The WH Group, the world’s largest pork company and owner of Smithfield Foods, is at the centre of two ongoing global pandemics. Its meat plant in the US, where workers have been protesting unsafe conditions, has become one of the largest clusters of Covid-19 in the country. Meanwhile, the company’s farms and slaughterhouses in China and Europe have played key roles in expanding a global outbreak of African swine fever that has already killed over a quarter of the world’s pig population.

The WH Group, the world’s largest pork company and owner of Smithfield Foods, is at the centre of two ongoing global pandemics. Its meat plant in the US, where workers have been protesting unsafe conditions, has become one of the largest clusters of Covid-19 in the country. Meanwhile, the company’s farms and slaughterhouses in China and Europe have played key roles in expanding a global outbreak of African swine fever that has already killed over a quarter of the world’s pig population.