Newspaper article Coffs Coast Advocate (Coffs Harbour, Australia)

Corporate Greed in Grain

Newspaper article Coffs Coast Advocate (Coffs Harbour, Australia)

Corporate Greed in Grain

Article excerpt

THE Australian Grains Industry Conference a athe premier industry-hosted conference for grain industry market participants and service providersa a was held in Melbourne two weeks ago.

Described as a ahigh-level market event bringing together the Australian and global grain industry in a premium networking eventa, the conference was a gathering of the great and the good in the world of grains.

Which is why, when I heard my colleague Fran Murrell, co-ordinator of MADGE (Mothers Are Demystifying Genetic Engineering), had scored a ticket, I was fascinated to see what her impressions would be.

She wrote to tell me she found the event aextremely worryinga. It's not that anything out of the ordinary happened. What was shocking was simply the anormalitya of how large corporate players view the food and agricultural system as an arena purely for speculation and profit, regardless of the destructive social and environmental consequences of their actions.

Fran said it was made crystal clear at the conference, when one speaker said a significant reduction in the outrageously high levels of food waste (50% or more of all food produced in developed countries is wasted by some estimates) would represent a athreata to the burgeoning ainvestment opportunitya large-scale land acquisitions and clearances of rural and indigenous people in Africa and South America represents.

Let me illustrate the sheer, chilling insanity of this perspective by reference to a few facts about food waste, via Stuart Tristram's excellent Waste: Uncovering the global food scandal:

The irrigation water used globally to grow food that is wasted would be enough for the domestic needs (at 200 litres per person per day) of nine billion people.

If we planted trees on land being used to grow unnecessary surplus and wasted food, this would offset 100% of greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuel combustion

All the world's one billion hungry people could be lifted out of malnourishment on less than a quarter of the food that is wasted in the US, UK and Europe.

Just let those facts a and there are many, many more a sink in for a minute. …

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