The Bangkok-based Sino-Thai company Choern Pakard Group (CP Group), Asia's largest and most prominent agro-food/feed corporation, has led an industrial maize contract farming scheme with (ex-)poppy upland smallholders in Shan State, northern Myanmar to supply China’s chicken-feed market. Thailand, as a Middle-Income Country (MIC) and regional powerhouse, has long-tapped China’s phenomenal economic growth and undersupplied consumer demand.
The European Union’s approach to bioenergy is shaped by contradictory policies. Climate concerns are highlighted in public discourse and assure broad public support for renewable energy, including bioenergy. Meanwhile, however, the EU’s corporate growth and trade agenda promotes the use of energy that actually increases the EU’s footprint on land elsewhere, with significant implications for environmental and social justice.
Jennifer Franco, Lucia Goldfarb, David Fig, Les Levidow, S.M.Oreszczyn et al.
23 February 2011
The Europe 2020 strategy's promotion of resource-efficient technologies and market incentives as the solution for sustainable agriculture is contradicted by experience where techno-fixes and market pressures have increased overall demand on resources.
The EU's reputation for clean and sustainable energy conceals a dirtier reality, particularly where renewable energy policies and development are driven by corporate interests. Today, nearly two thirds of all “renewable” energy in the EU comes from bio-energy. Although bio-energy appears to provide a sustainable alternative to fossil fuels, there are serious questions about its actual emissions profile, and about environmental and social conflicts which are created or exacerbated by the industrial-scale production of biomass to meet European energy needs.
Ben McKay, Sérgio Sauer, Ben Richardson, Roman Herre
15 September 2014
Flex crops, spread over greater expanses of land, are increasingly interlinked through international exchange in food, feed and fuel. Brazilian exports of sugarcane ethanol to the US are in part influenced by the domestic US production of maize ethanol, which in turn is shaped by the price of feed and the soybean supply.
David Fig, Jennifer Franco, Lucia Goldfarb, Les Levidow, Mireille Hönicke, Maria Luisa Mendonça
27 July 2010
EU biofuels policy is based on the assumption that it will lead to greenhouse gas savings, energy security and rural development, however in-depth research in Germany, Brazil and Mozambique reveals fundamental contradictions between EU policy assumptions and practices in the real world.
As Brazil and China become the world’s leading exporter and importer of soybeans respectively, Chinese companies have sought investments in Brazil to wrest greater control over the flows and profits of the international soybean trade from North Atlantic-based transnational companies. While some promote these as positive “South-South cooperation”, many others condemn them as neocolonial “land grabs” that displace peasants, cause environmental degradation, and deindustrialize the Brazilian economy.
Watch this trailer for a powerful new documentary about how supposedly well-meaning Dutch and Swedish investments can result in land grabbing and human rights abuses in one small community in Mozambique.
Jennifer Franco, Lucia Goldfarb, David Fig, Luisa Mendonca, Les Levidow, Mireille Hoenicke
06 April 2010
In recent years, there has been renewed interest in developing agrofuels on a large scale as an alternative to fossil fuel. EU biofuels policy, in particular, assumes that the environmental impacts associated with agrofuels production will be largely beneficial. This study questions such optimistic assumptions.
The bioeconomy is promoted as a response to current global social and environmental crises, with its promise of replacing fossil fuels with ‘renewable’ biological resources. How does it play out on the ground? Who wins and who loses? And what are the alternatives?
Industrial tree plantations (ITP), as a newly emerging sector, is expanding quickly and massively in Southern China, involving foreign corporations (including Finnish and Indonesian) tied to a variety of domestic partners, both state and corporate. In some places, the villagers embrace the land deals, while in others these land deals have provoked conflicts.
In February 2012 Economic Land Concessions granted to private companies in Cambodia totalled 2,033,664 ha., and increased to 2,289,490 ha. by June 2013, covering 63 per cent of the country’s arable land. Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) inflows to Cambodia grew by 73 per cent from 2011 to 2012. The country, together with Myanmar and Vietnam, is referred to as one of the ‘emerging bright spots of the subregion’.
Vruchtbaar en goedkoop land is gewild. In Afrika jagen zakenlui op dit 'groene goud'. Trouw schreef er een serie over. Ook in de Mekong- regio in Zuidoost-Aziëwordt land van bewoners afgepakt, vooral voor de rubberproductie. Foute zaak, zeggen mensenrechtenclubs. Maar de autoriteiten zijn blij met de investeerders.
Out of the kaleidoscope of different angles through which land grab can be analysed, the one elevating food security – and food sovereignty – as a crucial concern is amongst the most engaging and the less inquired, especially in its intertwining with policy elaboration.
Carlos Vinicius Xavier, Fabio T. Pitta, Maria Luisa Mendonça
18 November 2011
In this publication, data and recent analyses will be presented on the expansion of sugar cane monoculture for ethanol production in Brazil, and in particular on the monopolisation in the sector due to mergers and the takeover of production plants by foreign companies
Maria Luisa Mendonça, Fabio T. Pitta, Carlos Vinicius Xavier
18 July 2013
An examination of ethanol production in Brazil, highlighting the role of financial capital, the territorial expansion of agribusiness and the impacts on labour relations and indigenous peoples and peasant farmers.