Small-scale farmers and soybean in Argentina

Photo credit: IPS

Small farmers make carob powder, thanks to the support of an Argentine government project to boost family agriculture, in the rural village of Guanaco Sombriana in the northern province of Santiago del Estero. Credit: Fabiana Frayssinet/IPS

The Dilemma of Soy in Argentina

By Fabiana Frayssinet


Industrial soy production continues to expand in Argentina, pushing small farmers out of the countryside and replacing other crops and cattle. It presents a challenge in a country where 70 percent of the food consumed comes from family farms, but which also needs the foreign exchange brought in by what has been dubbed “green gold”.

In 2013, exports of soybeans, soybean meal, and soybean oil brought in 23.2 billion dollars, representing 26 percent of the country’s total sales abroad, according to the business chamber that represents producers of grains and cereals, the Cámara de la Industria Aceitera-Centro de Exportadores de Cereales.

That makes transgenic soybeans Argentina’s main source of foreign currency. And the soybean production chain accounts for 5.5 percent of GDP and 10 percent of tax revenue.

Land that has been deforested in the central Argentine province of Córdoba, as a result of the expansion of transgenic soy. Credit: Fabiana Frayssinet/IPS -
Land that has been deforested in the central Argentine province of Córdoba, as a result of the expansion of transgenic soy. Credit: Fabiana Frayssinet/IPS –

Impact on farming

“The growth in the surface area covered by soy and by transgenic commodities in general has meant the displacement of local farmers and an increase in cattle raised in feedlots,” Carlos Vicente, a member of GRAIN, a Barcelona-based international organisation dedicated to global agricultural issues, told IPS.

As an example of the impact, he said thousands of small dairy farms had closed down. “In the (eastern) province of Buenos Aires alone, 300 shut down,” he said.

“This means production is stagnant and concentrated in the hands of large producers, who are now acting as an oligopoly,” he added.

Read the full story:  IPS

Grabbing land and seeds of Africa

Photo credit: Pixabay

Africa’s Land

Africa’s Land and Seed Laws Under Attack

Fahamu (Oxford)


The lobby to industrialise food production in Africa is not only pouring money into plantation projects on the ground, it is changing African laws to serve foreign agribusiness as well. This is the main finding of a new report from the civil society organisations Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa (AFSA) and GRAIN.

The report, “Land and seed laws under attack”, documents who is pushing what changes in these two battlegrounds across Africa. Washington DC, home to the World Bank, the Millennium Challenge Corporation and the US Agency for International Development, stands out the biggest source of pressure to privatise African farm resources right now. But Europe, through the European Union and various donor mechanisms, is also deeply involved, providing funds and legal frameworks like the plant patenting scheme known as UPOV.

Privatising land and seeds is essential for the corporate model to flourish in Africa. With regard to agricultural land, this means pushing for the official demarcation, registration and titling of farms. It also means making it possible for foreign investors to lease or own land on a long-term basis.

With regard to seeds, it means having governments require that seeds be registered in an official catalogue in order to circulate.

Read the full article: allAfrica


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