EU must act against Cargill says watchdog

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Cargill has too much influence over staple food prices, says the watchdog

US company has too much influence over market and is partly to blame for recent high food prices

Cargill, the billion-dollar agribusiness giant, gained record profits by driving up grain and fertiliser prices in 2008, says a consumer watchdog.

Research undertaken by Food & Water Europe (FEW) claims the high prices led to food instability and starvation around the world.

The watchdog says the EU must enforce competition laws to ensure companies like Cargill do not control such an unfair proportion of the markets.

‘Cargill has gained control over huge swaths of the world’s agricultural system, and its ability to influence food prices is pushing millions of people around the world to the brink of starvation,’ said FWE executive director in Europe, Wenonah Hauter.

Other findings FEW's report

•    Cargill’s involvement in so many areas of the market helped create artificially high prices, resulting in global food instability

•    Cargill’s involvement in soybean and palm oil operations are linked to numerous destructive environmental practices, including clearing vast swaths of rainforest for plantation in Brazil, Papua New Guinea and Indonesia

•    Cargill has been blamed for numerous human rights violations, including forced child labour in Uzbek and Asian cotton fields and slave labour in cocoa plantations in Cote d’Ivoire

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