NGOs call for less and better meat, dairy and eggs in the Farm to Fork Strategy
Brussels — Ahead of the European Commission’s Farm to Fork Strategy, Food & Water Europe and 19 other NGOs wrote to key Commissioners and Commission Vice-President Timmermans to call on them to recognise and address the need to reduce and improve the production and consumption of meat, dairy and eggs in the strategy.
COMMUNITIES FROM SIX CONTINENTS TAKE ACTION AGAINST GAS AND FRACKING
On and around October 13th, over 90 groups from six continents came together in a united fight against the gas, fracking and plastics/petrochemicals industry for the Global Gasdown-Frackdown Day of Action.
Over a thousand people took action across North and South America, Africa, Europe, Asia and Oceania.
On and around October 13th, communities across the world united to take action, demanding a fossil-free future and real solutions.
Osazee Prince Edigin, from ASEC in Nigeria, says “Our connection to the global movement is to signal our government, the multinationals and their collaborators that our struggle to end gas and fracking and the need for transition to clean and renewable sources of energy is a global movement that is not peculiar to Nigeria. It will vibrate louder and stronger.”
“Having a global Gasdown-Frackdown shows we’re not alone. That other people as well are putting up a fight for what they love- be it their land, water, health or the climate. And that’s always encouraging” says a spokesperson from NoTAP Belgium, protesting against TAP a planned mega pipeline carrying gas from Azerbaijan to the EU.
In Brussels, several environmental NGOs met to show unity against gas. “The recently published IPCC report shows the urgency of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees and the need to phase out all fossil fuels, coal, oil and gas. We can’t afford to keep burning gas if we want to preserve a planet liveable for future generations. This action day, uniting different struggles across the world is a strong sign of resistance and hope”, says Frida Kieninger from Food & Water Europe.
Friends of the Earth Europe, WeMove.EU, Food & Water Europe, SumOfUs
For immediate release: Monday October 16
Brussels, October 16 – The proposed merger between Bayer and Monsanto should be blocked under EU competition law, according to a major new study from University College London to be released on World Food Day.
The authors of the report claim that the European Commission should be obliged to block the merger – which is currently under an in-depth investigation from the European Commission – even on a narrow reading of EU competition law.
The analysis concludes that the “Baysanto” merger should be blocked as:
It would reduce competition: It concentrates even further an already tightly-packed agriculture sector. Just three mega-companies (ChemChina-Syngenta, DuPont-Dow and Bayer-Monsanto) would own and sell about 64% of the world’s pesticides, and 60% of the world’s patented seeds.
It would raise prices and farmer dependency: One-stop inclusive packages of all services needed for agriculture (seeds, pesticides, and also “digital farming” products) would lock farmers into the company’s value chain, making them technologically dependent and facing price hikes in seeds and pesticides.
Asset selling won’t solve the crisis: Even if the Commission forces the companies to sell off some products the market is already so concentrated that divesting particular products will not address the merger’s negative effects on future competition in the seeds markets.
It would stifle alternative businesses: The three mega-corporations controlling the global food value chain would “entrench the market power of the dominant players for the decades to come”, thereby freezing more sustainable forms of agriculture
The academics also call on the European Commission to broaden its investigation of the merger to take into account the full social and environmental costs, as they are likely to “lead to important risks for food security and safety, biodiversity… [and risks for] affordable food prices, high quality of food, variety and innovation”.
Adrian Bebb, food and farming campaigner at Friends of the Earth Europe said: “EU competition chief Margrethe Vestager has more than enough arguments to block the unholy alliance of Bayer and Monsanto, and send a strong signal that the EU is prepared to stand up to these mega-corporations in order to protect farmers, citizens and our environment.
“The consolidation taking place between these agriculture giants would have major impacts on the future of our countryside, rural livelihoods and our environment. It is vital that the European Commission widens its investigation to ensure that we retain the possibility to move agriculture onto a sustainable and resilient footing to help counter climate change and halt biodiversity loss.”
Earlier this year over 200 civil society organisations called on European Competition Commissioner Vestager to stop the current wave of mergers in the agri-business sector. Almost 900,000 citizens have signed petitions calling for the Commission to act.
Brussels, March 27, 2017 – More than 200 organisations –including Food & Water Europe – have today raised their objections to the planned mergers of six giant agriculture corporations.
The farmer, farmworker, beekeeper, religious, international development, and environmental groups claim that the three resulting companies will concentrate market power and “exacerbate the problems caused by industrial farming – with negative consequences for the public, farmers and farm workers, consumers, the environment, and food security” in an open letter to the European Commission and Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager 
The European and national organisations – together representing millions of members – state that the proposed mergers of Dow Chemical with DuPont, Monsanto with Bayer AG, and Syngenta with ChemChina will lead to an unacceptable monopoly, with three companies controlling around 70% of the world’s agro-chemicals and more than 60% of commercial seeds.
Ramona Duminicioiu, peasant seed producer of the farmer organization European Coordination Via Campesina said: “Approving these mergers works completely against the rights of peasants, with far reaching effects in our society. When the Commission says that small family farms are the back bone of European agriculture does it honestly believe that or is it just lip service? The already fragile rights of peasants regarding seeds, land and markets risks of being obliterated by these mega-corporations and our Food Sovereignty abducted. The Commission should say no to these mergers!”
Adrian Bebb of Friends of the Earth Europe said:“Europe’s food and farming system is broken and if giant firms, like Monsanto and Bayer, are allowed to merge they will have an even tighter toxic grip on our food. The mergers are a marriage made in hell and should be blocked by regulators. We need to build a fairer and greener food system out of corporate control.”
Arnd Spahn from the European trade unions of agricultural workers EFFAT said:“Workers, as well as the environment and all society, are victims of the use of pesticides. We are fighting for health and safety on work places and we need partners for our ideas. Today the producers of pesticides are big, but after such a merger they will be too big for anybody to bring them on a path to worker and environmental protection. How shall we stop Glyphosate if we have such strong opponents?”
Isabelle Brachet of CONCORD Europe said: “Ending hunger implies addressing power imbalances in our food systems. A small number of multinational corporations dominate internationally traded food systems and get most of the knowledge, benefits and access to decision makers. Corporate power in our food must be restrained – not further extended by mega-mergers. The main investors in agriculture in developing countries are farmers themselves and it is they who must be at the centre of agriculture development policies.”
The organisations have called on the European Commission to reject the mergers, prevent the damage caused by these corporations, and urgently take steps to support just and sustainable food systems less dependent on agri-business.
“In many ways, fracking is the environmental issue of our time.
“It’s an issue that touches on every aspect of our lives — the water we drink, the air we breathe, the health of our communities — and it is also impacting the global climate on which we all depend.
“It pits the largest corporate interests — big oil and gas companies and the political leaders who support them — against people and the environment in a long-term struggle for survival.
“It is an issue that has captivated the hearts and minds of hundreds of thousands of people across the United States, Europe and across the globe. And it is an area in which, despite the massive resources of the Frackopoly — the cabal of oil and gas interests promoting this practice — we as a movement are making tremendous strides as our collective power continues to grow. As this report lays out, there is mounting evidence that fracking is inherently unsafe.
“Evidence builds that fracking contaminates water, pollutes air, threatens public health, causes earthquakes, harms local economies and decreases property values.
“We first made the case for a ban on fracking in 2011, but this report shows that there is an urgent case for a ban. The evidence is in, and it is clear and overwhelming. Fracking is inherently unsafe, cannot be regulated and should be banned. Instead, we should transition aggressively to a renewable and efficient energy system.” — Wenonah Hauter, Executive Director of Food & Water Europe
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