Latest news about ethical consumerism


Cargill's Colombian land-grab

Oct 4

Written by:
04/10/2013 13:08  RssIcon

U.S. commodities trader bought land through shell companies

U.S. commodities trader Cargill has bought large areas of farm land in Colombia violating the spirit of new agrarian reform laws in the country.

A new report by Oxfam shows that the company used dozens of shell companies to circumnavigate new laws that limit the amount of land any individual or company can own.

This enabled Cargill to farm all of the adjoining land as a single plantation and get around restrictions designed to promote distribution of land to smallholder farmers.

Cargill may have broken the law by purchasing over 52,576 hectares (130,000 acres) in the eastern Altillanura plains through companies registered from 2010 and 2012, all listed under the same agricultural activity and address.

Cargill spokeswoman Lori Johnson told Reuters: "Where we disagree with Oxfam is on what are the policies that really lead to stability, poverty reduction and increased food security. And, in this particular instance we clearly disagree with their interpretation of the law," Johnson said.

The report found that all 36 Cargill-linked "shell" companies stated the same address, listed the same sole board member and principal legal representative and the same economic activity - production of cereals, oil seeds and leguminous crops.

According to Oxfam, Colombia had one of the highest rates of land concentration in the world, with 80 percent of the land owned by 14 percent of landowners. Legal limits on land purchases, including in the Altillanura plains, were a key part of Colombia's land-reform effort.

It said that the actions of Cargill and other companies "threaten to derail efforts to help small farmers and erode efforts to address social inequality, an issue that features on the agenda of peace talks between the government and FARC".



This story has been added to our corporate database. The database powers all our live product guides, giving the score for each company on our rankings tables. Find out more about how we rate companies.




Read more about Cargill:

Corporate Watch - Cargill

Special Report: Food, justice and corporate power




Register on the site to receive our free monthly email newsletter and keep up-to-date with all our research and campaigning.





Full News Archive


Ethical news archive going back to July 2009.

Read More

Ethical Consumer Blog

Lush Spring Prize 2018

  • 16/10/2017 10:13

Today is the launch of the second year of the Lush Spring Prize, a collaboration with Ethical Consumer and Lush

Ethical Consumer Blog

Demand for Ethical Investment

  • 12/10/2017 09:26

Triodos Banks research into ethical investment shows a positive trend this Good Money Week

Ethical Consumer Blog

Uncharted Waters

  • 11/10/2017 12:49

Shaun Fensom tells us about the next steps for the Co-op bank and the Customer Union

Ethical Consumer Blog

The Problem with Uber

  • 09/10/2017 15:56

Personal finance blogger and author Iona Bain on what Uber tells us about our consumer decisions...

Ethical Consumer Blog

Bee-harming Pesticides

  • 05/10/2017 12:28

Pressure mounts for tougher action