Illustration of farming on a Washi-like cover


Akashi Library 162 Takokuseki Agribusiness to Nogyo/Syokuryo Shihai (Multinational Agribusiness and Agriculture and Food Controls)


KITAHARA Katsunobu, ANDO Mitsuyoshi


208 pages, 127x188mm




October 22, 2016



Published by

Akashi Shoten

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Takokuseki Agribusiness to Nogyo/Syokuryo Shihai

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This book is structured based on the four reports and comments from the 2015 Political Economy & Economic History Society's Spring Meeting, titled "The Present State of Agriculture and Food Controls by Multinational Agribusiness." On reading this book, even newcomers to this field can understand the type of reports and debates happening in society.
The crux of this book is it highlights the present state of agricultural subsumption through capital investments made globally.
America stands at the center. The policy requiring the blending of corn ethanol into automotive fuels has created artificial demand for corn, where excess monetary capital flowed and created steep rises in global grain prices. This means it succeeded in transferring the financial burden of supporting the grain-related agricultural sector onto both users and consumers worldwide. However, within America the expansion of the scale of grain agriculture and the concentration of output within large-scale businesses progressed. Although family businesses play a leading role, monoculturization, the adoption of pesticide and herbicide resistant GM seed packages, and the decline of plow tilling is spreading. Additionally, control over the direct production process is also being solidified through capital (Hiroshi Isoda).
A similar situation to the one in the US is developing in Brazilian soybean production as production areas are moving in step with the adoption of GM crops and scale expansion. Brazil's soybean-livestock complex has an oligopolistic structure controlled by agribusiness. Particularly in the Midwest, the subsumption of agriculture through capital is strengthening through contract cultivation for the production and shipment of soybeans through the provision of inputs such as seeds, fertilizers, and pesticides (Sayaka Sano).
In Japan, Dole Foods began the contract cultivation of fruits in 1998 and since 2000, has established franchise-type agricultural companies nationwide. However, there is a difference because Japan has a farmland system based on a principle of cultivatorism (only the persons who cultivate the farmland can hold the rights regarding the farmland) and agricultural cooperatives organized throughout the country, but capital subsumption in the agricultural production process has remained at a low level (Kae Sekine). National Strategic Special Zones are being used to break down the walls of this farmland system, and land ownership through capital is on the cusp of being realized.
Furthermore, capital subsumption is advancing in breeding. The application of new biotechnology for breeding has resulted in not only the proactive introduction of patents to protect intellectual property rights for plants, but also the emergence of corporate giants leading breeding activity. The world's largest market, China, continues to primarily supply seeds for its main food grains through public breeding; however, feeds and food oils have been replaced by imported soybeans under the control of these corporate giants (Yoshiaki Yoshida).
This series of events can be interpreted as "financialization." Various financial actors from different social and spatial standings entered the agricultural and food sectors with a wealth of financial strength and strong technological capabilities. Thus, they are transforming conventional structures and developing a situation where they hold the right to make decisions in both distribution and production (Masashi Tachikawa).
The strengthening of control over agricultural and food through this kind of capital may well promote its systematization into every corner of society. We hope that in choosing this book, readers will appreciate new perspectives on agricultural and food issues.

(Written by ANDO Mitsuyoshi, Professor, Graduate School of Agricultural and Life Sciences / 2019)

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