Are transnational companies like Cargill exploiting food producers?

A  British dairy farmer writes: “Cargill scare me”. 

cargill logoThis individual family owned private company has such a massive hold on the world’s food supply chain it is frightening. Family members share individual billion dollar investments and the company is described at length in a briefing by Corporate Watch.

I went to a meeting yesterday where it was explained how large and efficient the company was. It also showed how they have a hold over everything in the world’s food chain and fuel supplies while distancing themselves from the financial risk and responsibility of production.

Everything Cargill do is so very precise, corporate and highly efficient with nothing  wasted – Cargill control our animal feed and other vital inputs.

In the corporate world where reasonable income is not returned to the prime producer, society must face the consequences. An increasingly diminishing number of the talented agricultural workforce are being forced to work too hard simply to survive.

cargill  tppAs extreme corporate company “efficiencies” maximise the profits for those who are already rich, small local traders are forced out of business and potentially into poverty or welfare dependency. And this may be adversely affected as many Americans realise – hence the protests about the influence Cargill has over the TPP trade negotiations.

Producers find themselves faced with no real choice of buyer or supplier when everything is corporately controlled. Prices charged for inputs can be kept artificially high and any efficiencies the farmer make are lost to further increases in cost of inputs by the same corporates for the benefit of their wealthy owners.

While most family farmers have integrity and tenacity, they also have all the hard work, with disproportionate financial risk and responsibility, including that for their animals and workers.

Without true choice of suppliers or buyers, or reasonable income to produce a workable cash flow, they have little control over the hours of work, the cost of inputs or outputs or the opportunity for change – other than through overwork or bankruptcy.

Corporates and governments are taking maximum advantage of the fact that family dairy producers whose business requires large and long term financial and personal commitment cannot easily change direction.

This is a form of modern day slavery.

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