Tuesday, 29 April 2008


Big business makes record profits and the poor starve!!!

New from GRAIN
28 April 2008

A new report by GRAIN - http://www.grain.org/2/?id=39

The world food crisis is hurting a lot of people, but global agribusiness
firms, traders and speculators are raking in huge profits.

Much of the news coverage of the world food crisis has focussed on riots in low-income countries, where workers and others cannot cope with skyrocketing
costs of staple foods. But there is another side to the story: the big
profits that are being made by huge food corporations and investors.
Cargill, the world's biggest grain trader, achieved an 86% increase in
profits from commodity trading in the first quarter of this year. Bunge,
another huge food trader, had a 77% increase in profits during the last
quarter of last year. ADM, the second largest grain trader in the world,
registered a 67% per cent increase in profits in 2007.

Nor are retail giants taking the strain: profits at Tesco, the UK supermarket
giant, rose by a record 11.8% last year. Other major retailers, such as
France's Carrefour and Wal-Mart of the US, say that food sales are the main
sector sustaining their profit increases. Investment funds, running away
from sliding stock markets and the credit crunch, are having a heyday on the
commodity markets, driving prices out of reach for food importers like
Bangladesh and the Philippines.

These profits are no freak windfalls. Over the last 30 years, the IMF and the
World Bank have pushed so-called developing countries to dismantle all forms
of protection for their local farmers and to open up their markets to global
agribusiness, speculators and subsidised food from rich countries. This has
transformed most developing countries from being exporters of food into
importers. Today about 70 per cent of developing countries are net importers
of food. On top of this, finance liberalisation has made it easier for
investors to take control of markets for their own private benefit.

Agricultural policy has lost touch with its most basic goal: that of feeding
people. Rather than rethink their own disastrous policies, governments and
think tanks are blaming production problems, the growing demand for food in
China and India, and biofuels. While these have played a role, the
fundamental cause of today's food crisis is neoliberal globalisation itself,
which has transformed food from a source of livelihood security into a mere
commodity to be gambled away, even at the cost of widespread hunger among
the world's poorest people.


GRAIN, Making a killing from hunger: We need to overturn food policy, now!
"Against the grain", April 2008, http://www.grain.org/2/?id=39 and in PDF

No comments: