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Colonizer Diet: Feed and Displacement

Colonizer Diet: Feed and Displacement 
by Moses Seenarine 1/10/18

Land used to grow a billion tons of livestock feed is cultivated as monoculture over vast areas. Monoculture is the agricultural practice of producing or growing a single crop or plant species over a wide area for consecutive years. In many regions feed crops are grown in mass monocultures and exported worldwide. 

The animal feed business is booming and spreading out rapidly. By way of illustration, in Argentina, soy crops ballooned from 4 million hectares (15k sq mi) in 1988, to 9 million (35k sq mi) in 2000, to 19 million hectares (73k sq mi) in 2012. This is close to a five-fold boost in a little over two decades. Correspondingly, soy production in Argentina went from 10 million tons in 1988, to 20 million in 2000, to 52 million tons in 2012. 

In 2012, soy represented 22% of Argentinian exports, compared to cow carcass and chicken at 3%. Around 25% of the world's soybean exports are from Argentina. Soy production alone is projected to boom by 5 million hectares (19k sq mi) by 2020, to 27 million hectares (104k sq mi) – the area of New Zealand. By 2020, cattle production is likewise predicted to enlarge by 25%. 

Even so, cattle-ranching is already responsible for about half of Brazil’s GHG pollution, involving large amounts of methane, due to the vast numbers of cattle. Feed crop monoculture has caused the displacement of millions of families, and thousands of communities across the global South. 

Multitudes of small-scale farmers have been priced off their land or forced to sell to bigger producers, losing homes and livelihood. Indigenous communities, whose traditional land rights are rarely recognized or respected, are particularly affected. They are powerless to stop the collusion of state, local elites and TFCs usurping their lands and ways of life with the spread of ranching and feed crops. 

There are around 1.5 million small farmers in Paraguay, yet 70% of the land is owned by just 2% of landowners. This extreme form of inequality is fueled by livestock production. Deplorably, the majority of the rural Paraguayan population, largely indigenous, no longer own land and live in extreme poverty. Only 15% of this population has access to safe drinking water and 42% to medical care. Similarly, small farms represent 78% of all farms in Peru but occupy a mere 6% of the country’s agricultural lands. 

Throughout the globe, livestock is a major cause of rising inequality and landlessness. The growing demand for land in South America, Asia and elsewhere is leading to conflicts across many feed-growing regions, with widespread reports of violent attacks on rural communities. Families and whole communities have been forcibly evicted from their homes. Some have had their houses burned, often in the middle of the night. In collusion with livestock and feed producers, the Paraguayan police and security forces have been accused of operating death squads. 

Across the world, the spread of feed plantations has reduced the number of small farms, the tradition source of food for rural communities. Production of corn, rice, oats, and beans has diminished substantially. The upshot has been an escalation in food insecurity. For example, from 1996 and 2003, the amount of people in Argentina lacking a 'basic nutrition basket' rose from 3.7 to 8.7 million. 

Soy farms can cover up to 50,000 hectares (193 sq miles). Large-scale soy production is highly mechanized and profitable. The planting and harvesting are carried out by machines, which means that few people are employed. A mechanized farm has an average of one employee per 200 hectares (500 acres or 0.7 sq mi). Rural unemployment has soared as large farms need little labor. Consequently, rural laborers migrate to cities to look for work, exacerbating urban poverty and unemployment. Basic survival needs fuel a migration crisis and compel displaced Latin American farmers to search of work in the US, Canada and elsewhere. 

Excerpt from "Meat Climate Change: The 2nd Leading Cause of Global Warming," by Dr. Moses Seenarine, [ ]

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