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Agritech in Africa promoted in Davos

Bill Gates, at the World Economic Forum (WEF), which opens today in Davos, Switzerland, alongside agrobusiness multinationals in corpore, pursues a strategy of predation and transformation in continental African agriculture. In the name of world hunger and climate change.

Bill Gates, at the World Economic Forum (WEF), which opens today in Davos, Switzerland, alongside agrobusiness multinationals in corpore, pursues a strategy of predation and transformation in continental African agriculture. In the name of world hunger and climate change.

How corporate giants are automating the farm

Self-driving tractors and the internet of cows – welcome to the world of precision agriculture. Jim Thomas of the ETC Group lays out the vision driving corporate giants into a merger frenzy  

Self-driving tractors and the internet of cows – welcome to the world of precision agriculture. Jim Thomas of the ETC Group lays out the vision driving corporate giants into a merger frenzy  

WEMA project shrouded in secrecy: open letter to African governments to be accountable to farmers, civil society

The Water Efficient Maize for Africa (WEMA) project promises to develop drought tolerance in maize for the benefit of small holder farmers, but is really a project designed to facilitate the spread of hybrid and genetically modified (GM) maize varieties on the continent. WEMA involves five African countries: Kenya, Mozambique, South Africa, Tanzania and Uganda. It works through the National Agricultural Research (NAR) agencies of these countries, the African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF), the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Centre (CIMMYT) and Monsanto. The project is funded by the Bill and Melinda Gate Foundation, the Howard G. Buffett Foundation.

The Water Efficient Maize for Africa (WEMA) project promises to develop drought tolerance in maize for the benefit of small holder farmers, but is really a project designed to facilitate the spread of hybrid and genetically modified (GM) maize varieties on the continent. WEMA involves five African countries: Kenya, Mozambique, South Africa, Tanzania and Uganda. It works through the National Agricultural Research (NAR) agencies of these countries, the African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF), the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Centre (CIMMYT) and Monsanto. The project is funded by the Bill and Melinda Gate Foundation, the Howard G. Buffett Foundation.

Asia farmers' network resounds strong call to Stop Golden Rice!

Four years after the first militant uprooting of Golden Rice, waves of protest mobilisations stir anew in the Philippines and Bangladesh against its commercialisation, while debate rages on in Indonesia, India and other Asian countries where Golden Rice is planned for commercial release.

Four years after the first militant uprooting of Golden Rice, waves of protest mobilisations stir anew in the Philippines and Bangladesh against its commercialisation, while debate rages on in Indonesia, India and other Asian countries where Golden Rice is planned for commercial release.

Tanzanian farmers are facing heavy prison sentences if they continue their traditional seed exchange

In order to receive development assistance, Tanzania has to give Western agribusiness full freedom and give enclosed protection for patented seeds. “Eighty percent of the seeds are being shared and sold in an informal system between neighbors, friends and family. The new law criminalizes the practice in Tanzania,” says Michael Farrelly of TOAM, an organic farming movement in Tanzania.

In order to receive development assistance, Tanzania has to give Western agribusiness full freedom and give enclosed protection for patented seeds. “Eighty percent of the seeds are being shared and sold in an informal system between neighbors, friends and family. The new law criminalizes the practice in Tanzania,” says Michael Farrelly of TOAM, an organic farming movement in Tanzania.

The great climate robbery

"How the food system drives climate change and what we can do about it" A new book by GRAIN

"How the food system drives climate change and what we can do about it" A new book by GRAIN

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.

The Exxons of agriculture

World leaders are about to converge for the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP21) in Paris in December, but there is only one major intergovernmental initiative that has emerged to deal with climate change and agriculture – and it is controlled by the world's largest fertiliser companies.

World leaders are about to converge for the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP21) in Paris in December, but there is only one major intergovernmental initiative that has emerged to deal with climate change and agriculture – and it is controlled by the world's largest fertiliser companies.

Seed laws that criminalise farmers: resistance and fightback

Seeds are under attack everywhere. Under corporate pressure, laws in many countries increasingly put limitations on what farmers can do with their seeds and with the seeds they buy. Seed saving, a thousand-year-old practice which forms the basis of farming, is fast becoming criminalised. What can we do about this?

Seeds are under attack everywhere. Under corporate pressure, laws in many countries increasingly put limitations on what farmers can do with their seeds and with the seeds they buy. Seed saving, a thousand-year-old practice which forms the basis of farming, is fast becoming criminalised. What can we do about this?

Golden Rice is unnecessary and dangerous

With inexpensive Vitamin A abundantly available from various natural sources, it is a mistake to turn blindly to Golden Rice, a crop that the International Rice Research Institute itself admits it has not yet determined can actually improve vitamin A intake. Farmers and civil society organisations strongly denounce the Golden Rice Campaign Tour planned for the Philippines, Bangladesh, and India from 4-20  March 2015 and continue to call for the defence of traditional and farmer-bred crop varieties and the prohibition of the commercialisation of Golden Rice.

With inexpensive Vitamin A abundantly available from various natural sources, it is a mistake to turn blindly to Golden Rice, a crop that the International Rice Research Institute itself admits it has not yet determined can actually improve vitamin A intake. Farmers and civil society organisations strongly denounce the Golden Rice Campaign Tour planned for the Philippines, Bangladesh, and India from 4-20  March 2015 and continue to call for the defence of traditional and farmer-bred crop varieties and the prohibition of the commercialisation of Golden Rice.

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.

Land and seed laws under attack: who is pushing changes in Africa?

The lobby to industrialise food production in Africa is changing seed and land laws across the continent to serve agribusiness corporations. The end goal is to turn what has long been held as a commons into a marketable commodity that the private sector can control and extract profit from at the expense of small holder farmers and communities.

The lobby to industrialise food production in Africa is changing seed and land laws across the continent to serve agribusiness corporations. The end goal is to turn what has long been held as a commons into a marketable commodity that the private sector can control and extract profit from at the expense of small holder farmers and communities.

Gates Foundation refutes report it fails African farmers

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has rejected accusations that too much of its funding goes to Western researchers, saying it is helping small farmers in African countries.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has rejected accusations that too much of its funding goes to Western researchers, saying it is helping small farmers in African countries.

How does the Gates Foundation spend its money to feed the world?

Since the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation added “feeding the world” to its objectives almost a decade ago, it has channelled an impressive three billion dollars towards agricultural projects, much of it to improve farming in Africa. But GRAIN analysed the foundation's agricultural grants records for the past decade and reached some sobering conclusions.

Since the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation added “feeding the world” to its objectives almost a decade ago, it has channelled an impressive three billion dollars towards agricultural projects, much of it to improve farming in Africa. But GRAIN analysed the foundation's agricultural grants records for the past decade and reached some sobering conclusions.

Food sovereignty for sale: supermarkets are undermining people's control over food and farming in Asia

In the past decade, food corporations have been taking over a bigger and bigger slice of the retail pie in Asia, with major implications for the entire food chain. Corporate supermarkets are expanding faster in this region than anywhere else on the planet. And as supermarkets and their procurement chains expand, they take revenue out of traditional food systems – and out of the hands of peasants, small scale food producers and traders. They also exert increasing influence over what people eat and how that food is produced.

In the past decade, food corporations have been taking over a bigger and bigger slice of the retail pie in Asia, with major implications for the entire food chain. Corporate supermarkets are expanding faster in this region than anywhere else on the planet. And as supermarkets and their procurement chains expand, they take revenue out of traditional food systems – and out of the hands of peasants, small scale food producers and traders. They also exert increasing influence over what people eat and how that food is produced.