Originally published June 25 2014
Corporations taking over the world food supply via farmland monopolies
by L.J. Devon, Staff Writer
(NaturalNews) Farmland, once managed by individual families and communities, is rapidly being taken over by corporations and converted into large, modern-day plantations. As the wealthiest corporations take over the ground, controlling the seed and the food, the livelihood of the average person is put at the mercy of industrial commodity crops.
As the land and seed is concentrated into the hands of the elite, the average man and woman become slaves to a new methodology of agriculture that does away with biodiversity and responsible care of the land.
Small farms are squeezed onto 25 percent of farmland, but you won't believe this... As an elite few take control, patenting their genetically engineered seeds, the world's food supply is put at risk. According to international land use group GRAIN, small farmers are being squeezed onto less than 25 percent of the world's available farmland.
A shocking UN report finds that these small farms are shrinking, but surprisingly produce, on average, 70 percent of the world's food supply! This shows how unimportant and inefficient corporate factory farms really are, in terms of amount of food they produce per area of land. These industrial farms control 75 percent of the farmland but only produce about 30 percent of the world's food.
Still, mega-farms are dominating in one area -- expanding production of genetically altered commodity crops.
Industrial commodity crop production quadruples, limiting the potential of small farms In the past 50 years, the expansion of four industrial commodity crops has quadrupled. These include soybeans, oil palm, rapeseed and sugar cane. Since the 1960s, these commodities have taken over 140 million hectares of farmland around the world. Even with all this land, these commodity crops aren't necessarily feeding the world, but are more so providing the grounds for a cheap processed food industry to expand. This processed food industry perpetuates hunger around the world, providing nutrient-void food that makes the world sicker and more ravenous for real food.
Not to mention, the pesticides that go along with this method of farming harm the honeybee population that's needed to pollinate important vegetable crops. Not only are corporate-controlled farms pushing more efficient and biodiverse farms off the land, but they are destroying the natural components needed to sustain life too.
On top of that, the expansion of industrial commodity crop farms wastes more energy, because these crops are not distributed at the local level and must travel further from farm to plate.
Industrial farms push away biodiversity, threatening food and nutrition security "What we found was shocking," said Henk Hobbelink of GRAIN. "If small farmers continue to lose the very basis of their existence, the world will lose its capacity to feed itself. We need to urgently put land back in the hands of small farmers and make the struggle for agrarian reform central to the fight for better food systems."
For example, in the past 50 years, the United States has lost 30 percent of its small farms. Industrial farms are often subsidized, and their numbers have quintupled in the past 50 years!
And the industrial farms continue to get bigger, pushing small farmers off their land. For instance, in Chile, 15 percent of small farms dissipated between 1997 and 2007, while the biggest farms doubled in size, from 7,000 to 14,000 hectares per farm.
A stunning 70 percent of small farms have disappeared in Belgium, Finland, France, Germany and Norway since the 1970s.
"In all of these processes, control over land is being usurped from small producers and their families, with elites and corporate powers pushing people onto smaller and smaller land holdings, or off the land entirely into camps or cities," said Hobbelink.
Small farms rooted in biodiversity are the answer to world hunger Small, biodiversity-driven farms are more efficient for feeding the world. A study by GRAIN found that the most productive farmers in the world till the land in Botswana. While owning only 8 percent of the country's farmland, the farmers manage to produce 99 percent of its maize, 90 percent of the millet, 73 percent of beans, 25 percent of the sorghum and all of the country's ground nuts.
The study concluded, "Beyond strict productivity measurements, small farms also are much better at producing and utilising biodiversity, maintaining landscapes, contributing to local economies, providing work opportunities and promoting social cohesion, not to mention their real and potential contribution to reversing the climate crisis."
According to the study's data, the agricultural production in Kenya could double if the industrial farms were as efficient as small farms. Ukraine's production could triple. Industrial farms may look more efficient, hiring less workers per acre of land, but this only provides a return on investment.
Small farms engage more people in the process, work with the land and focus on maximizing biodiversity of nutritious crops.
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