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Livestock: Contracted in Global Value Chains

Exploitation of producers instead of "win-win"

In times of rising food prices, not only agrofuels but also industrial livestock production is under scrutiny. It is based on concentrate feed that competes directly with food and fuel, and indirectly for land and water resources. In addition, the livestock’s greenhouse gas emissions, as well as increasing human health costs and animal welfare concerns are calling for a change. But most livestock producers cannot initiate the necessary U-turn. Even if they wanted to produce more sustainably, most of them are contracted in industrial value chains, and many are indebted. And at least in poultry, they depend on companies controlling the most important input, genetics. An overview by Susanne Gura


Contract farming is the common approach to livestock industrialization. It began in the USA after hybrid breeding was applied to chicken around the middle of the past century. European companies applied it soon after, and it started in Asia and Latin America during the 1970s. Industrial pork producers copied the concept, and it is increasingly applied in aquaculture ...

... this article is published in
Issue 3/May-Jun 2008 for subscribers only. For direct log in >>> click here. If you have no subscription >>> pick your option or buy the article >>> here.

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The article is also available in our dossier >>> The New Age of Hunger.

Posted: 5 May 2008









Food Crisis: In Grip of Financial Markets / Green Revolution versus Sustainable Agriculture

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