That Oxfam report into the food industry insisted that poor farmers need better transport links, better seeds, acess to better inputs. Plus better ways to get their outputs to market.
The same report also attacked the major commodity traders.
The way-markers today are grain silos, agricultural hangars for harvesting machines, and banner adverts across nearly every field for agrochemicals and genetically modified soya seed.
Occasionally, the green and orange logo of Monsanto’s Roundup glyphosphate herbicide gives way to an election poster for the Perónist president, Cristina Kirchner, or to a rival chemical or seed company’s billboard. But there’s no question who dominates the landscape here.
Less visible at first, and strangely unfamiliar to consumers in the UK, are the big four transnational exporters that dominate the other half of the soya complex, the so-called ABCD group of companies: ADM, Bunge, Cargill and (Louis) Dreyfus.
Between them, these firms account for 75-90% of the global grain trade, according to some estimates. They provide the fertiliser for the soya, and here, as elsewhere, dominate the processing industry that divides the beans into oil for food manufacturing and protein meal for animal feed. When you reach the ports of Rosario and San Lorenzo-San Martín, they are unmissable, however, with their dozens of crushing plants, biodiesel refineries, grain terminals and elevators towering above the river.
This is where about 55m tonnes of soya a year, worth $24bn (£14.7bn), starts a journey through the docks to the importers – China, India and Europe.
They’re complete cretins, aren’t they?
It’s the very commodity traders who are providing the access to inputs, the storage, the transport to export, that those farmers need and Oxfam desires.
How did the lunatics gain the keys to the asylum?