Takeovers and mergers like Monsanto by Bayer, Kraft with Heinz and Dow with DuPont are just the tip of the iceberg. A spate of corporate marriages is concentrating control at each link in the value chain, from field to fork. The biggest players are growing the fastest and are pushing through their own interests and approaches. Fifty manufacturers account for 50 percent of global food sales in the industry. Seven companies currently dominate the global production of pesticides and seeds. Much of the beef, pork and chicken we eat is controlled by just a handful of big firms.
Agrifood corporations are driving industrialization along the entire global value chain, from farm to
plate. Their purchasing and sales policies promote a form of agriculture that revolves around productivity. The fight for market share is achieved at the expense of the weakest links in the chain: farmers, and workers.
Two trends coincide in the agrifood sector: ever-fewer corporations are taking control of an ever-bigger market share and are gaining influence in many parts of the world. At the same time, the opportunities for civil society and social movements to oppose such developments are being restricted.
A growing number of people are organizing themselves and are changing their buying habits to recreate diversity in the value chain. But that is not enough to end hunger and poverty or to protect the environment. The withdrawal of government from economic intervention is a major cause of the colossal environmental and climate damage and the global injustice that we see today. It is high time for a socially and politically oriented regulation of the agrifood industry. We hope that this atlas will stimulate a broad-based social debate on this vital topic.
Published by Friends of the Earth Europe, the Heinrich Böll Foundation and the Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung, 2017Download AgrifoodAtlas.pdf