There was a reason why our founding fathers were leery of monopolies – because they knew that too much power and influence in too few hands was not conducive to liberty and freedom.
That’s one reason why they would likely be concerned about control of the global food supply these days – because too few food multinationals have a grip on commodity markets, “with potentially dramatic effects for consumers and food producers alike,” Britain’s Independent reported recently.
The newspaper was citing a new report that warned the livelihoods of millions of small business owners and firms that produce many of the drinks and foods we consume on a daily basis are “seriously under threat,” noting that extreme price volatility coupled with higher food prices and more concentrated food markets threaten to leave farmers “condemned to poverty.”
The paper said three mega-multinationals now control better than 40 percent of global coffee sales, for example. Eight companies control the supply of cocoa and chocolate. Seven control the lion’s share – 85 percent – of tea production. Five multinationals control three-quarters of the world banana trade. And the largest half-dozen sugar traders account for about 66 percent of world trade, the new report by the Fairtrade Foundation said.