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The Agrifood Atlas

The power of the food industry is distributed among fewer and fewer companies. This corporate atlas provides an overview of the main players and their business strategies, the various forms of corporate power and those who oppose and criticize this position of power.

Battle of the Corporations

What is actually happening in the corporate world? The Agrifood Atlas provides an overview of the major corporate players and their business strategies, the different forms of corporate power, and those who resist corporations and criticize this power structure.


The Global Market is Dominated by Four Agriculture Corporations

Four agriculture corporations dominate the import and export of raw agricultural commodities: Archer Daniels Midland, Bunge, Cargill, and the Louis Dreyfus Company. Together, they are known as the “ABCD Group”, or simply “ABCD”. Archer Daniels Midland (abbreviated, in turn, as ADM), Bunge, and Cargill are North American companies, while Louis Dreyfus is headquartered in the Dutch capital of Amsterdam. All four were founded between 1818 and 1902, and apart from ADM, are still partly controlled by descendants of their founding families. These corporations trade and transport commodities and also process many kinds of raw material. They own ocean-going vessels, ports, railways, refineries, silos, oil mills, and factories. Their global market share lies at 70 percent. Cargill is the largest of the corporations, followed by ADM, Dreyfus, and Bunge.

Industrial Agriculture Cannot Feed the World

World hunger has not yet been eliminated. Nearly 800 million people in the world are still malnourished. This problem is related to the unequal distribution of food. Thus far, industrial food systems have worsened these disparities rather than solved them. Independent, small-scale food producers and agricultural labourers account for more than half of all people living in hunger today. A key question is therefore not how to increase production, but rather how to improve living conditions of the poorest through agriculture and other means. This would provide them with access to income and adequate nutrition.

The Alternatives: Agroecology and Community-Supported Agriculture

Many people around the world are pioneering socially just and ecologically sustainable food systems. Step by step, they are driving a turnaround in food production and agriculture. With agroecology, farmers and social movements worldwide have created an alternative approach to industrial agriculture. People involved in the scientific community, civil society organizations, as well as the United Nation and various governments are all adopting this approach. However, it still has not made the jump to the mainstream.

The Agrifood Atlas 2017 is a joint publication project between the Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung, Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung, Bund für Umwelt und Naturschutz Deutschland (German Federation for the Environment and Nature Conservation), Oxfam Germany, Germanwatch, and Le Monde diplomatique.


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This atlas is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution -.
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With original contributions by Christophe Alliot, Dietmar Bartz, Reinhild Benning, Christine Chemnitz, Jennifer Clapp, Olivier De Schutter, Roman Herre, Saskia Hirtz, Emile Frison, Meera Karunananthan, Peter Kreysler, Benjamin Luig, Sylvian Ly, Heike Moldenhauer, Sophia Murphy, Christine Pohl, Christian Rehmer, Christoph Then, Jim Thomas, Jan Urhahn, Katrin Wenz, John Wilkinson

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