Agribusiness

Export-oriented industrial agriculture of a few globally traded commodities (like soy, maize and rice), as well as meat production, destroy forests, the diversity of seeds and small-scale farming systems. They also uproot established land use patterns and threaten food sovereignty.

Members of the WRM’s Advisory Committee were invited to contribute to this special Bulletin with reflections on the devastating situation of deepening injustices that forest communities and peasant families around the world are facing due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

While it was easy to see the smoke from the forest fires in Brazil, it was much harder to see what was behind the Brazilian government’s smokescreen: actions that will lead the rainforest to a swift death, destroying territories, livelihoods and the diverse cultures.

“Shock” is a common reaction when a crisis emerges… or when it comes to light. However, it also provides a convenient smoke screen for governments, financial institutions and companies behind which they can hide their own role in and responsibility for the current crises in the forests.

The government claims that small-scale agriculture is responsible for deforestation. But this claim ignores government policies that drive land-use changes and destructive markets as well as the exclusion of indigenous peoples through the creation of reserves.

An inteview with Winnie Overbeek, the International Coodinator of the WRM, about the causes and the impacts of the deforestation in the Amazon.

It should be clear for society that this is not an isolated phenomenon. In fact, it is the result of a series of actions taken by agribusinesses and big miners.

It is impossible to think about extraction without thinking about a vast network of accompanying infrastructure, and thus even greater deforestation and destruction.

We live in an age of ever more “extreme infrastructure.” The construction of roads, railway lines and other infrastructure linking production and resource extraction centres with major consumer areas is tied to profoundly undemocratic forms of elitist planning.

The mega-infrastructure corridors prioritized in ambitious investment programmes spanning the african continent are squarely focused on facilitating the export of minerals and agricultural commodity crops and the import of processed foods and manufactured goods.

While the destruction of forest territories continues, more pledges, agreements and programs are being implemented in the name of ‘addressing deforestation and climate change’.