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Retail Empires Pile into Eastern Europe with World Bank Loans

The Eastern European entrance of Lidl and Kaufland, supermarket retail chains owned by a German corporate group, were financed with loans from public money. According to an investigation by The Guardian, almost 900 million Euro of public funds coming from the World Bank and European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) were injected to develop hundreds of supermarkets packed with cheap, imported food. This leaves peasants and other local food producers, largely ignored by these retailers, unable to compete. These public institutions, funded by taxpayers and owned by governments, have explicit mandates to increase local development in the countries where they spend their money. The World Bank also has an additional, specific mandate to reduce global poverty. An International Consortium of Investigative Journalists found that 1,000 World Bank projects approved between 2004 and 2013 forced 3.4 million people from their homes, grabbed their land, or damaged their livelihood. The banks claim that their funding for Lidl and Kaufland would create jobs, opening new markets for local producers and bringing “good quality, affordable food” to poor […]

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Challenges & opportunities of moving agroecology east

  Written By: Stella Beghini, Agrobiodiversity Campaign Intern for Eco Ruralis  At the recent International Forum on Agroecology held in Mali, delegates of peasants and many other groups from all over the world strongly addressed the roots of the crisis concerning our natural and social systems. They claimed agroecology as the real solution to reach environmental justice. The challenges and opportunities of how agroecology can be achieved in Eastern Europe is essential to growing this international movement. The Nyéléni Center in the Malian village of Sélingué held its first Forum in 2007 where food sovereignty was first conceptualized as a holistic approach and vision to agrarian justice. Fast forward to 2015, another meeting of diverse and united groups of peasants, indigenous people, fisherman, agricultural workers and others was held to work on reaffirming agroecology as the solution to mend our broken food and social systems. The delegates pointed out the many challenges that peasants around the world are facing nowadays: the loss of control over natural resources, land and whole knowledge systems that are the basis of our traditions and […]