Over the last couple of decades there has been a huge swelling in the
importance of the financial sector in the world economy. Investors now
demand the same elevated returns in all economic sectors

More than one billion people in the world are employed in agriculture, and most work in extremely precarious conditions. They cannot guarantee the food security of their families. Improvements will come only if these workers are better organised and better able to engage in collective bargaining. The IUF is working with its affiliates to make this happen.


Over the years many Big Ideas have been imposed on Africa from outside. The latest is that the region should sell or lease millions of hectares of land to foreign investors, who will bring resources and up-to-date technology. None of the blueprints has worked, and African farmers have become increasingly impoverished.

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Three activities

Until now, agriculture has been largely excluded from global carbon markets, but this is set to change in December 2009 at the Copenhagen conference. Agribusiness companies are lobbying hard to make a range of farming activities eligible for future funding under the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM).

The way that industrial agriculture has treated soils has been a key factor in provoking the current climate crisis. But soils can also be a part of the solution, to a much greater extent than is commonly acknowledged.


Gaining access to the territorial waters of many developing countries has been a goal of expanding global capital in recent years. It comes in different forms and under different names but with the single objective of extracting profits for big business. The European Union (EU) is at the forefront of this drive.

In Ecuador, Bolivia and Peru, initiatives have been taken recently that raise hopes that mechanisms might be created to stop the further privatisation of knowledge and life. So far, progress has been disappointing, with fundamental problems remaining unsolved. Once again, it is up to local people to defend knowledge and biodiveristy against destruction and privatisation.