Press release 1.8.2008
Cobham, Surrey : Activists Blockade Cargill Europe Head Office http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2008/08/405109.html
Action Against Agrofuels | 01.08.2008 09:28 | Climate Chaos | Ecology | Globalisation | London
Since 7.50 am this morning, 20 participants in this year's Camp for Climate Action and members of Action Against Agrofuels have been blockading the only access gate to Cargill's European regional head office in Cobham, Surrey. 8 activists have locked on to the gates closing the site down completely. Agrobusiness giant Cargill are being targeted by the protesters for their role in rainforest destruction and land-grabbing as well as for profiteering from the food crisis.
Hannah Ritchie from the group says: “Cargill is using the boom in agrofuels to expand soya, palm oil and sugar plantations, displacing communities, food crops and destroying ecosystems. Destroying rainforests and other biodiverse ecosystems, including healthy soils, is one of the quickest ways of heating the planet. This is why we are blockading the Cargill office two days before the official start of the Climate Camp at Kingsnorth.”
According to the UN World Food Programme, 100 million more people are going hungry as food prices have risen by 83% in three years. At the same time, Cargill's profits have risen to record levels, going up by 86% in just nine months, since the company is profiteering from high food prices.
Jordan Craig says: “For companies like Cargill, agrofuels are an opportunity to make more profits from food, to take over more land from small farmers and communities and to further destroy local food production. This is why we need an immediate halt to government policies such as the mandatory blending of petrol and diesel with biofuels in the UK, as well as an end to 'free trade' food and agricultural policies which solely boost the power and the profits of agribusinesses like Cargill. Instead of agrofuels, we need to have policies that support Food Sovereignty, i.e. which put people's right to food first and support small-scale, biodiverse, organic farming, instead of energy-intensive agriculture.”
Participants in the action can be contacted at the following numbers 07527-124478 or 07964-068147
1. Agrofuels are biofuels made from crops and trees grown on monocultures for that purpose.
2. Cargill owns 25% of shares in the UK's biggest biofuel supplier, Greenergy International. They have major investments in US corn ethanol, Brazilian sugar cane ethanol, as well as palm oil and soya, and they are involved in joint ventures to develop GM agrofuels. Cargill is the world's biggest grain trader, the biggest exporter of sugar cane and soybean from Brazil, the biggest soybean crusher in Paraguay and one of the world's five largest palm oil traders.
About the harm which Cargill is causing to communities and ecosystems in Brazil, Paraguay and Papua New Guinea, see http://understory.ran.org/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2007/11/cargill_letter1.pdf
Profits from Hunger, Land-grabbing and Rainforest Destruction
Cashing in on the food crisis
According to the UN World Food Programme, 100 million more people are going hungry as food prices have risen by 83% in three years. In the UK, man y families are struggling to afford a basic diet. In East Africa, 13 million lives are at risk from record grain prices as well as drought. Agrofuels (biofuels from crop and tree monocultures) are fuelling the crisis. Last year, 100 million tonnes of grains were turned into fuel and vast areas of land, previously used for food, are being turned into lantations to grow crops for our cars. Thanks to agrofuels, big agribusiness is making record profits from rising oil prices, as companies can afford to sell food at the price of oil.
Cargill’s profits rose by 86% between April 2007 and February 2008, compared to the same period in the previous year.
Cargill are the world’s biggest grain trader. According to Alejandro Nadal, lecturer in economics in Mexico: “Conglomerates like Archer Daniels Midland, Cargill, Bunge, Monsanto and Syngenta have s much control over markets and infrastructure that they can manage stocks, invest in grain futures and manipulate prices on a world scale so that they can obtain huge profits.”
Fuelling climate change and deforestation:
Agrofuels make soya, palm oil and sugar cane more profitable, so companies are cutting down and burning more forest for plantations. Cargill are taking control of even more land than before thanks to agrofuels. Destroying rainforests and other biodiverse ecosystems, including healthy soils, is one of the quickest ways of heating the planet. Vast amounts of carbon are released and large areas of land dry up affecting rainfall.
What civil society groups in the South have said about Cargill: (quotes from tinyurl.com/6476qp)
“This system that is being implemented by Cargill is affecting us negatively. The intensive and extensive production of soy is poisoning us and leaving us with fewer natural resources to survive as a people. We passionately reject the presence of Cargill in our country because they are in o way contributing to improving the quality of life of our people. We demand that you leave our country.” Sovereignty and Life, Paraguahy, 2007
“We demand that the grain producing companies, especially those who are affecting our way of life, immediately suspend expansion into new areas of the Cerrado, and stop the cultivation of soy around our lands, our headwaters, and near the homes of our Indigenous populations: CARGILL, STOP NOW WITH THE DESTRUCTION OF OUR LANDS!!!”, Letter from Indigenous Peoples of the Cerrado, by MOPIC, Brazil
“In Oro, I feel that the companies have made enough profit of our land, and that they should return the land to the land owners. This includes not deforesting any more land for palm oil. The main issue we all need to understand is that people are suffering and badly need help. Cargill is proposing a new mill at Kokoda, Oro Province, PNG, and the local landowners have united against it. Despite their protest, the mill continues to be built.”, Sorovi Women’s Association, Papua New Guinea, 2007.
The food and climate crises require
+ An immediate halt to government policies that promote agrofuels, such as mandatory blending with biofuels in the UK
+ End ‘free trade’ food and agricultural polieis which boost the power and profits of agribusiness like Cargill
+ New policies that support Food Sovereignty: Putting people’s right to food first, supporting small-scale, biodiverse organic farming, not energy-intensive agriculture, and supporting local , sustainable food production.
For information on the food crisis and on Food Sovereignty, see www.viacampesina.org . For information on soya, sww www.lasojamata.org . for information on biofuels, see www.biofuelwatch.org.uk
Leaflet produced by ACTION AGAINST AGROFUELS