Agribusiness transnational corporations wield immense power over the global food system. They influence what food is grown and what food is sold. Due to increasing consolidation in the food system and high market concentration, agribusiness firms are able to set the prices they pay to farmers, and their dominance allows them to influence the use of productive resources, such as water and seeds. The search for new profits has led some companies to buy or lease land in developing countries, regardless of the human and social impact.
Large agribusiness TNCs also aggressively use the law to promote their interests. They have used intellectual property protections to patent plants, thus restricting use of food sources. They have intimidated farmers with litigation. They have lobbied against more market transparency for meatpackers, and have also pushed for less actual transparency in how animals are treated.
However, laws can also stem or address abuses by agribusiness. Governments use laws to regulate corporations. And activists have increasingly turned to the law to hold corporations accountable for their actions.
Want to know more about the impact of agribusiness corporations on our food system?
- Check out the resources compiled by the Business & Human Rights Resource Centre related to agriculture, food, beverages, tobacco, and fishing.
- See what the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to food has said about agribusiness, as well as his thoughts on seeds and intellectual property rights.
- Learn more about large-scale land acquisitions (“land grabs”) at Farm Land Grab or by reading some of the recent reports from the International Institute for Environment and Development or the Oakland Institute.
Still curious about agribusiness? Find relevant Righting Food articles here.