Food costs in Kenya increased by more than 650% between 2008 and 2022 as a result of a lack of transparent information from food companies regarding the food system.
In order to prevent huge firms from abusing their position, a lobbying group is now urging transparency in the trade and operations of the food sector. Greenpeace found that the global food system forces African nations to import food when they might produce and profit from a greater proportion of own food, as stated in its most current study, Food Injustice 2020–2022.
According to the report, a small but influential number of corporations maintains control over the food chain and ensures astronomical profits.
During the Covid-19 epidemic and the Ukrainian War, twenty food multinational firms donated $53.5 billion (Sh6.8 trillion) on average to their stockholders between 2020 and 2021.
An extract from the report reads, “this is the new colonialism. Africa’s governments have allowed the ultra-rich of the US and Europe to retain too much power over Africans and our food system. They constructed a system that would be vulnerable to shocks like the Covid-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine.”
According to Hellen Dena, Communication and Manager for Greenpeace Africa, Kenya must support sustainable farming practices if it is to be protected from high food imports.
“Ecological farming will ensure that Kenyans have better access to food, it will protect jobs, reduce the emissions that cause extreme weather, and protect the biodiversity we depend on,” Hellen Dena relayed.
The study demonstrates that the lack of clear information from food companies regarding the food system is one of the major factors contributing to speculation and rising food prices. Between 70% and 90% of the global grain trade is controlled by four American and European companies: Archer-Daniels-Midland, Cargill, Bunge, and Dreyfus. Despite this, they are not obligated to disclose any information regarding the international markets, including their grain holdings.
“They want a system which would allow them to profiteer as food prices change, a system in which they can push up those prices,” Hellen Dana added.