People Should Control the Food System, Not Corporations – Kirtana Chandrasekaran, Stanka Becheva

For those among us interested in how we can feed the world, we would recommend a visit to the alternative People’s EXPO instead of the official Milan (Italy) EXPO 2015, a massive exhibition supposedly aimed at bringing the global community together to ‘make progress on issues of international importance.’

Twenty million visitors are expected at the EXPO 2015 in Milan, a €1.3 billion exhibition themed around “feeding the planet, energy for life.”

Giant food corporations like Nestle, McDonald’s and Coca-Cola are using this space to hobnob with governments and portray themselves as companies feeding the planet sustainably.

“We produce enough food to feed the world’s population today and in the future. What we need urgently is fairer distribution of resources and access to food dictated by need and not just by wealth and profit.”

But the picture painted at the EXPO is an unconvincing one.

The globalization of food production in recent decades – supported by unfair trade agreements – has led to corporate food monopolies. A small number of companies now dominate the supply of seeds, agricultural chemicals , processing, logistics and  food production. For example, in 2011 four retailers controlled 85% of the German national food market, and three retailers controlled 90% of the food market in Portugal. In 2009, just five retailers controlled 70% of the market in Spain.

Why is it a problem that a handful of multinational corporations control our food supply?

Because the social and environmental impacts of this concentration of power are devastating.

The corporate food system, heavily dependent on chemicals and fossil fuels, alongside cheap raw materials, makes a massive contribution to climate change – it is responsible for up to half of global greenhouse gas emissions. This cannot continue if we are to reduce greenhouse gases to safe levels for future generations.

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