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.

Lessons learned from 30 years of GRAIN

What started as a passionate and determined initiative of a few activists in Europe has matured into a solid, diverse and decentralised international organisation. Over that period, the politics and vision of GRAIN have not wavered, only grown deeper. Here we offer some of the lessons that we learned and shifts we undertook, over this 30 year period, in the hope that they can be useful for others.

What started as a passionate and determined initiative of a few activists in Europe has matured into a solid, diverse and decentralised international organisation. Over that period, the politics and vision of GRAIN have not wavered, only grown deeper. Here we offer some of the lessons that we learned and shifts we undertook, over this 30 year period, in the hope that they can be useful for others.

TIAA and Harvard’s Brazilian farm deals judged illegal

Two of Brazil's top public authorities on land in the Cerrado have dealt a major blow to the efforts of foreign companies to take over the region's farmlands. These judgements are detailed in a new report by AATR, Rede Social and GRAIN, as well as how fires are once again ravaging large areas of forests on TIAA and Harvard's Brazilian farms, exacerbating the climate crisis.

Two of Brazil's top public authorities on land in the Cerrado have dealt a major blow to the efforts of foreign companies to take over the region's farmlands. These judgements are detailed in a new report by AATR, Rede Social and GRAIN, as well as how fires are once again ravaging large areas of forests on TIAA and Harvard's Brazilian farms, exacerbating the climate crisis.

From political coup to land destruction in Brazil

The so-called “Land Grabbers’ Act” not only authorizes the immediate regularization of some 40 million hectares of federal public land, but also vitiates the nation’s agrarian reform policy and facilitates the introduction of illegal settlements into the land market, resulting in a genuine agrarian counter-reform.

The so-called “Land Grabbers’ Act” not only authorizes the immediate regularization of some 40 million hectares of federal public land, but also vitiates the nation’s agrarian reform policy and facilitates the introduction of illegal settlements into the land market, resulting in a genuine agrarian counter-reform.

Toxic river: the fight to reclaim water from oil palm plantations in Indonesia

With agricultural commodities accounting for over 80% of fresh water use, the role played by the agroindustry in the frenzied rush to control access to this resource is major, bringing along countless cases of social conflict and environmental destruction. The industry boom in the demand for palm oil is a clear example, and few countries in the world have experienced the rapid expansion of oil palm plantations like Indonesia.

With agricultural commodities accounting for over 80% of fresh water use, the role played by the agroindustry in the frenzied rush to control access to this resource is major, bringing along countless cases of social conflict and environmental destruction. The industry boom in the demand for palm oil is a clear example, and few countries in the world have experienced the rapid expansion of oil palm plantations like Indonesia.

"What does factory farming have to do with the climate crisis?" Comic strip edition

The pandemic has turned life on its head and has made us question a whole host of matters, including industrial livestock and the issue of factory farming. This is why we are sharing this comic strip. It offers a simple and clear explanation of why producing livestock in factory farms can be devastating for our planet’s climate.

The pandemic has turned life on its head and has made us question a whole host of matters, including industrial livestock and the issue of factory farming. This is why we are sharing this comic strip. It offers a simple and clear explanation of why producing livestock in factory farms can be devastating for our planet’s climate.

International Street Vendors’ Day and the need for collective struggle

It’s the 20th edition of our quarterly Supermarket Asia bulletin. It’s good timing as we celebrate International Street Vendor’s Day on 14th of November - a day calling for the recognition of the contribution street vendors make to our food systems and our lives, and to raise awareness about the significant challenges they face.

It’s the 20th edition of our quarterly Supermarket Asia bulletin. It’s good timing as we celebrate International Street Vendor’s Day on 14th of November - a day calling for the recognition of the contribution street vendors make to our food systems and our lives, and to raise awareness about the significant challenges they face.

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.

To care for our seeds

A set of booklets that can help us understand what is behind the resolve to instate intellectual property and the privatization of seeds through pacts, conventions, agreements, laws, standards, norms, registries, and certifications; why so much effort is invested in pushing aside what has been humanity’s fundamental task for thousands of years.

A set of booklets that can help us understand what is behind the resolve to instate intellectual property and the privatization of seeds through pacts, conventions, agreements, laws, standards, norms, registries, and certifications; why so much effort is invested in pushing aside what has been humanity’s fundamental task for thousands of years.

Digital fences: the financial enclosure of farmlands in South America

In all the countries studied in this report, the georeferenced cadastres became a requirement both for the land regularisation process and to access other public and credit policies in the financial system for rural properties. This trend to digitise land governance and the natural resources linked to it, is being reinforced by the World Bank: it has allocated USD 45.5 million for the registration of the Brazilian Cerrado’s private rural properties in the rural environmental cadastre and has also assigned USD 100 million to the multi-purpose cadastre in Colombia.

In all the countries studied in this report, the georeferenced cadastres became a requirement both for the land regularisation process and to access other public and credit policies in the financial system for rural properties. This trend to digitise land governance and the natural resources linked to it, is being reinforced by the World Bank: it has allocated USD 45.5 million for the registration of the Brazilian Cerrado’s private rural properties in the rural environmental cadastre and has also assigned USD 100 million to the multi-purpose cadastre in Colombia.

Trade deals handing Japanese seeds to multinational corporations

Farmers, civil society and prominent figures in Japan have succeeded in temporarily postponing the amendment of the PVP Act, a major attempt against the public management of seeds. But what lies behind these efforts to amend the PVP Act? And is stopping the revision of the PVP Act enough?

Farmers, civil society and prominent figures in Japan have succeeded in temporarily postponing the amendment of the PVP Act, a major attempt against the public management of seeds. But what lies behind these efforts to amend the PVP Act? And is stopping the revision of the PVP Act enough?

Between free trade and local markets: Thailand's attempt to enter CPTPP negotiations meets opposition again

In this time of Covid-19, free trade negotiations have not subsided, and are even increasing. In Thailand the government is trying again to join the Trans-Pacific trade agreement, CPTPP. But opposition continues, with increasing demand for fresh, small-scale farm produce and a diversified food system based on local markets. This edition of the Supermarket watch bulletin also includes articles that highlight long term economic impacts and opportunities that Covid-19 creates for street vendors.

In this time of Covid-19, free trade negotiations have not subsided, and are even increasing. In Thailand the government is trying again to join the Trans-Pacific trade agreement, CPTPP. But opposition continues, with increasing demand for fresh, small-scale farm produce and a diversified food system based on local markets. This edition of the Supermarket watch bulletin also includes articles that highlight long term economic impacts and opportunities that Covid-19 creates for street vendors.