Is Neo-Imperialism on Your Plate? Meat, Feed and Neocolonialism

Is Neo-Imperialism on Your Plate? Meat, Feed and Neocolonialism
by Moses Seenarine, 1/10/18

Most of the 1.3 billion tons of grain consumed by livestock annually are fed to farm animals - primarily pigs and chickens - in Europe, North America, China and Latin America. Current grain prices make this profitable, but this could reverse if grain prices climb in the future. 

Due to expanding livestock production, world cereal feed demand will be significantly higher in the coming 30 years. The surge upwards in cereal feed demand greatly exceeds other factors in importance that are generally expected to affect the future world food situation, like GMOs and climate vicissitudes, in the coming three decades. 

Grain grown in the developing world and exported to the developed world is a form of neocolonialism. This is the geopolitical practice of using capitalism, business globalization, and cultural imperialism to influence a country, in lieu of either direct military control or indirect political control. Neocolonialism frequently involves imperialist or hegemonic colonialism, and the disproportionate economic influence of modern capitalist businesses in the economy of a developing country. 

Many multinational corporations (MNCs) continue to exploit the natural resources of former European colonies through collusion with local elites. Such economic control is inherently neocolonial. It is similar to the imperial and hegemonic varieties of colonialism practiced by the US and the empires of UK, France, and other European countries, from the 16th to the 20th centuries. Most of the world's feed crops are grown in the underdeveloped world and almost all of it is grown to be exported. This is very similar to sugar, coffee, tobacco, and other export crops grown during enslavement and colonial periods. 

After China, Europe is the biggest importer of soy. Europe is one of the largest importers of Brazilian soy, the leading importer of ethanol, and in the top four importers of cow carcass from Brazil. European imports of soy, cow carcass and ethanol are main drivers of deforestation and climate-altering gases, with destructive social impacts in Brazil and globally. Soy production in Latin America has more than doubled in 15 years. 

This rapid expansion in feed production has been facilitated by multilateral banks, like the International Financial Corporation (IFC), which is the private sector lending arm of the World Bank (WB), and the Inter-American Development Bank (IADB). Multilateral banks are keen to encourage agriculture for export and are very successful at doing so. Case in point, around 80% of Paraguay’s soy is exported to feed livestock. 

Corporations involved in the soy trade are key drivers of expansion and intensive production. US companies Bunge and Cargill dominate the soy industry in Brazil and Argentina. They buy beans from farmers, own crushing mills, and export soymeal and oil to the UK and the rest of Europe. Cargill, the world’s largest commodity trader, owns crushing mills for soy and rape seed in the UK. Archer Daniel Midland (ADM), Dreyfus, and Brazilian company AndrĂ© Maggi, are major stakeholders in Brazilian soy production as well. Trading companies, like Cargill and Bunge, have a crucial role in controlling the whole soy production process, because farmers depend on them to provide credit and supplies of fertilizer and pesticides. On top of that, these TFCs manage the logistics, arranging storage, transportation and processing of the grain.

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

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