EU commissioner Dacian Cioloş did a good job of placating nearly everyone in the December round of reforms to the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). Environmental groups claim victory with the inclusion of their “greening” provision that ties 30 percent of the CAP budget to environmental actions over the next five years. The subsidy barons are more than happy that a proposed cap on individual payments has been commuted to sliding reductions in claims of over €150,000.
In a classic piece of corporate-led legislation, the EU intends to control the saving, swapping and sowing of seeds, by introducing the “Regulation on the Marketing of Plant Reproductive Material”. Small farmers all over Europe could be coerced into giving up their age old practice of saving seed, as doing so becomes so inconvenient and costly that they give up and just buy the big companies’ approved and patented seed.
Perhaps mindful of the expendability of their predecessors, the new crop of Defra Ministers appointed in September’s Cabinet reshuffle have been keen to make a good impression. Defra Minister Owen Paterson has led from the front by announcing his intention to push through the pilot Badger Cull in 2013, along with his wholehearted support for the commercial licensing of GM crops. A close second however has been Lib Dem Farming Minister David Heath who, just one month into the job, announced his intention to scrap the Agricultural Wages Board (AWB).
Following the busiest 12 months in the history of neo-colonial land-grabs, the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has taken the first steps towards regulating takeovers of agricultural land by foreign governments and corporations.
UPDATE 29 FEB 2012
The occupiers have now been evicted, after EDF gained a possession order in the High Court on 27th Feb. The judge did however refuse to grant a wider injunction banning anti-nuclear organisations from encouraging future protest on the site.
The past few months have seen the issue of land grabbing hit the headlines once again, following the release of several high profile reports condemning the impact of the practice on farmers across the global south. In June 2011 the US based Oakland Institute claimed, in its report The Great Land Grab, that “foreign investors sought or secured between 37 million and 49 million acres of farmland in the developing world between 2006 and the middle of 2009”.
Continue reading Peasant Farmers Fight Back Against Land Grabbing
This was the message from Pascal Lamy, Director General of the World Trade Organisation, who confidently asserted that “international trade is not part of the problem, but part of the solution to global food crises”, at a recent meeting of European Agricultural Economists in Zurich, Switzerland.
Buried deep amo.ng the confidential cables posted online by WlkiLeaks smce the last issue of The Land appeared are a number of dispatches detailing the extent to which the US Government has lobbied on behalf of its biotechnology industry. As well as funding extensive “outreach” programmes promoting the benefits of genetically engineered crops to countries across the global south, it appears the US singled out the EU, and in particular France, as a hotbed of resistance which needed to be addressed.
Saturday 22nd July saw growers and supporters from across the UK descend on Norwich to help deliver 40 boxes of organic blight-resistant potatoes to the Sainsbury Laboratory to highlight the re-emergence of open-air field trials and the £1.7 million of public money being spent in the hunt for a GM blight-resistant spud.
Continue reading GM demonstration cultivates resistance
On January 22, GM campaigners came together under the umbrella of a ‘GM Gathering Momentum’ conference in north London. The meeting was an opportunity to hear the latest developments in GM crop science and European licensing as well as networking between local and regional groups of activists. Organisations taking part in the conference included the Gaia Foundation, the World Development Movement, Econexus, ETC Group and Genewatch UK.
Continue reading Action on GMOs Gathers Momentum