Globalisation, food systems and palm oil

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What is globalisation?
Process through which an increasingly free flow of ideas, goods, services and capital leads to the integration of economies and societies
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What indicators are there that agri-food systems are becoming increasingly globalised?
Internationally traded foods = increased % food production; increased food standardisation and regulatory institutions, consumer's tastes are becoming more similar, health and environmental externalities are having global effects.
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What effects is globalisation having on food systems?
Increased availability+diversity of food, changes to way food is produced, distributed-loss of traditional farming practices/markets-complex supply chains. Increased market competition by powerful players, l.and diverted to non-food crops
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Describe a case study illustrating how a more complicated supply chain can decrease product quality. Why did this occur?
2013 Horsemeat scandal. Horse DNA found in beef products sold by large supermarkets. Huge complexity- difficult to trace. Comigel (France) subtracted Spanghero (Spain)- Cypriot trader- Netherlands trader- Romanian abbattoir- cart ban - horses sold
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How has the structure of the global seed market changed over time?
1985- top 3 corporations held 6-8% global market share. 2013- Top 7 held 71% share (ETC Group Phillips McDougall, 2013- based on company reports) . Majority= chemical companies e.g. Monsanto, Du Pont, Syngenta, Limagrain etc.
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What are the main causes of land being diverted away from growing food crops?
Crops are grown for animal feed or for biofuels
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How has soybean and cattle farming impacted upon the forests of Argentina?
250,000 hectares were cleared annually and 80% is attributed to soybean production and cattle ranching (National Secretary of Environment and Sustainable Development, Argentina).
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What proportion of the maize grown in the US is used as a biofuel feedstock What significance does this have?
40%- could feed 400 million people for a year (FAO, 2012) and pushes up corn prices
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What is the consequence on forest area for Indonesia supplying 50% of world palm oil in 2009?
340,000 ha Indonesian countryside (much of it lowland tropical rainforest) cleared annually (World watch Institute, 2009)
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Why is it so difficult to avoid products containing palm oil?
In a huge variety of products- 50% packaged goods (WWF, 2011). Lots of names- over 30 e.g. Palmitate, Palmitic acid, hexadecanoic acid.
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What is a likely indicator that a product may contain palm oil?
If the proportion of saturated fat is more than 40% of total fat.
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Why would banning palm oil have negative social and economic consequences for the people of Indonesia?
45% palm oil in Indonesia= produced by smallholders (WWF, 2011) - Opportunity for income- improve quality of life. Without this- unable to afford to send children to school or eat in many cases.
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Why is the expansion of palm oil have so many negative consequences for the environment and human health?
Slash and burn technique + draining peatlands= release of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Particulate matter= air pollution- harmful effects on human health. Monoculture plantations provide only one habitat- huge loss of biodiversity.
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Describe a strategy to reduce the environmental consequences of the palm oil industry. What is the success reliant upon?
Certification by RSPO (Roundtable on sustainable palm oil). Encourages reduced use of chemicals and use of other methods to increase productivity on current plantations- preventing further deforestation. Consumers need to support RSPO products.
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Give one reason why the area of land in Ethiopia decreasing for domestic food production?
2/3 land leased for agriculture- was for foreign firms. Firms based in India and China have leased 1000s ha of farmland iin Ethiopia with sizes ranging between 15m and 18m ha.
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List some firms responsible to leasing land for agricultural production in foreign countries. Why is the UN committee on food security concerned about the growing trend of leasing foreign land?
Ruchi soya industries, Sterling group, Olam international, KS Oils Verdonata harvests plc. Arguement: "little evidence acquisitions provide food and jobs to the local population).
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Define: virtual water
The flow of water that occurs when commodities with a water footprint are traded.
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Provide some comparisons for water use between plant based and animal based foods
Meat=water intensive e.g. 1 kg beef- 16,000 litres, 3,500 litres for 1 kg chicken. Vs. plant foods= less water intensive e.g. 850 litres for 1kg maize, 500 litres for 1 kg potatoes, 1000 litres for 1 kg wheat.
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Define: biological threat
Organisms with the potential to harm people's health and life, food and agriculture, the environment and the economy. Can be naturally occurring or introduced through negligence or deliberate use as biological weaponry.
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What does biosecurity concern?
Te safeguarding of resources from biological threats
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List some biosecurity risk pathways
Cut flower imports. movement of people for business and travel, wood imports, food aid, scientific and germoplasm imports, vessel ballast transport.
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What is the annual cost of the impact of introduced harmful organisms?
US $1.4 trillion
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Where is the cost of introduced harmful organisms highest for the economy? Provide some examples.
In developing countries already facing hunger and poverty (Pimentel et al, 2001). e.g. India- US$ 91 billion. Brazil- US $ 42.6 billion. Trying to mitigate these issues- diverts money from where it is needed.
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What was the cost of the 2001 UK foot and mouth epidemic?
US$ 3.1 billion. (Thompson et al, 2001). 10 million sheep and cows killed.
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How has biodiversity been impacted upon by the trend in crop species grown?
Variety of commercially important crops has decreased significantly- now just 150 species. With 3: rice, wheat & maize providing 60% of the world's food supply.
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Why is corn/maize grown on such a huge scale?
Corn has so many uses- breakfast cereal, cosmetics, coffee, paper, etc. - Highly unlikely to not be able to sell.
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How has the soil been impacted upon by agricultural intensification?
Currently being eroded at 300 x formation rate (World Resources Institute).
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Define consumption
Utilisation of the products of human labour/ action of using up a resource.
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Who are the two stakeholders who drive consumption? Provide arguments for the strong influence of each.
Retailers- immerse consumers in a wider consumer culture: advertising via internet, TV, radio, posters- consumers made to consume? Consumers- final choice+ less passive/want quality/environmental/ social sustainability-Veggie prets. Porridge in McD
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Compare cultural homogenisation with cultural indigenisation.
Homogenisation- formation of one culture e.g. coca-cola everywhere. Indigenisation- Local traditions are preserved to some extent e.g. Ying and Yang black and white burger in Chinese McDonalds and pita breads for buns in Greece.
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Provide some examples of psychological tricks retailers use to entice consumers to buy.
Bread trick:air cons blow scent of freshly baked goods; Triangular balance:expensive products @ top-eye is drawn. Position of "impulse buys"/special offers near checkouts+ aisle ends. Kids products @eye level. Destination goods at back of store.
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What is the strategy behind the coca cola mcdonalds partnership campaign in 2011?
Coca-colas 125th anniversary. Campaign- 6 "retro" coloured glasses to collect. Available at Mcdonalds with purchase of extra large meal or premium salad. - Encourages increased consumption. Idea of limited edition glasses= sense of urgency to some
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Why could palm oil potentially be a health food?
Richest natural source:provitamin A carotene-15x more than carrots.super-antioxidant. cholesterol lowering:10% in 23/25 people after 4 weeks capsules(University of Illinois college of medicine),reverse atherosclerosis, vit E tocotrienois phytonutrien
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What are the problems with eating a diet high in palm oil despite the suggested health benefits?
After processing and refined- fat changes to trans-fats with little nutritional value. Any nutrients- destroyed by hydrogenation process. Contains roughly 50% saturated fat/total fat content.
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Why is palm oil used in such a broad range of foods?
Cheap (1/3 price of soybean oil), available, adds bulk to products, neutral flavour and products have a long shelf-life
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How has the quantity of palm oil grown globally changed over time?
Increased exponentially-most rapidly expanding equatorial crop in the world. 1/10 world's permanent cropland (FAO, 2007)(WRI, 2007).
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How much palm oil is grown in Indonesia and how is this likely to change in the future?
35,000,000 metric tons in 2016 (Index Mundi, 2017). With 20 million ha land earmarked for further expansion- only likely to increase further
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What are NES schemes and how do they work?
Nucleus estate and smallholder schemes. Farmers transfer a portion of land to an oil palm company for an estate plantation. The remaining land is kept by the farmer but also planted with palm.
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What implications has the increasing land area in Indonesia used for palm oil had for food security? What other issues with land ownership arise?
Loss of self-sufficiency. individuals sell off land without acceptance of all community members. promises not fulfilled for new schools and health clinics. Bribes: local officials who sell off land. Tribal rights not recongnised: Dayak tribes, Borneo
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What are some of the benefits to smallholders of growing palm oil in place of more traditional crops?
Much more reliable than growing Duku or Durian. Much less labour required than for rubber plantations- 2 days per month compared to 14/
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What is an issue with the contracting that takes place between farmers and the palm oil corporations?
Farmers rarely read the contracts they sign in detail or sometimes may be unable to understand wording. Have to trust verbal agreements made with local officials. Often farmers are unaware of debts they incur or how it was calculated (Chang, 2008).
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What was an unanticipated impact of palm oil plantations on rice cultivation?
Palm oil plantations allowed rat populations to increase- decimated rice paddies
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What is the stance of the World Health Organisation on palm oil?
Urging companies to decrease use in products. Palm oil=more conducive to heart disease than oil from olives, soy and canola. "Convincing evidence palmitic acid increases risk of CVD."
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What rules came into force in Europe in January 2016 and what consequences will this have for the palm oil industry?
Companies must now label the ingredients in their products much more clearly - i.e. expand on what is in "vegetable oil" including if palm oil is present whether it is from a sustainable source. Should allow consumers to make an informed choice.
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What negative environmental impacts does growing palm oil have?
Destruction/fragmentation of habitat, interruption of travel corridors/migration pathways; fires can burn out of control-harm/kill organisms, animals wandering into plantations for food may be killed.
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How much does palm oil contribute to the Indonesian economy?
In 2008- Indonesia exported US $14.5 billion + in palm-oil related products (World Growth, 2011) report
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What % of palm oil plantations in Indonesia are privately owned by larger groups?
10 conglomerate groups owned 64% country's plantation area in 1998 e.g. Unilever, Procter and Gamble, Asian development bank
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What % of Malaysia's land area is palm oil plantations?
11% (2000)
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Why is tropical rainforest so important?
70% Earth's species and animals. 200 tree species/acre. Many species= endemic e.g. Orangutan
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What % of original species can live in palm oil plantations?
20% or less - biological desert
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How many Sumatran tigers are left in the wild?
250
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How are Orangutans affected by palm oil plantations after they have been established?
Shock-waves of refugees- increase stress and decrease reproduction. Orangutans can eat 50 young oil palm shoots at once- law allows legal killing in defence of property- rewards offered for each dead orangutan- further decrease-50% killed in 8 years
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Why do farmers poison Elephants?
Can damage crops by trampling. e.g. In and around Tesso national park- US $1.1 million annually
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Why does gaining RSPO certification require a decrease in chemicals?
Workers often show signs of poisoning after working with chemicals with limited protection e.g. Paraquate dichloride = toxic herbicide- nose bleeds, eye irritation, nail loss and abdominal ulcerations.
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Give an example of an NGO strategy to encourgae companies with stakes in the palm oil industry to be more socially and environmentally sustainable.
WWF- Palm Oil buyers scorecard. Unilever (one of the largest global buyers of palm oil) now sources 100% of palm oil from RSPO certified suppliers
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Why were consumers so angry about the horsemeat scandal?
Now suspicious about origins of other products- trust in accuracy of labeling broken. Idea of chemicals given to horses in foods e.g. Phenylbutazone given to horses as pain treatment. Questions of governance.
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How much profit did Spanghero make by subcontracting instead of sourcing meat itself?
£550,000
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What consequences did Spanghero face?
Licence was suspended. Laid off 320 workers- already 13.5% unemployment in that region of France. Could take years for the company to recover from the bad reputation.
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Describe a typical wholesale agri-food supply chain
Wholesale-produce is usually from lots of small=medium sized growers, produce generally sold loose. no stringent specifications, operations are reliant upon a few links
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Describe the differences between partially-integrated and fully-integrated supermarkets
Partially-mostly large scale producers who are also exporters. Mix of packaged and unpackaged foods. Fully- associated with the cut flowers and fresh produce industries. High standards and quality presentation/packaging specified by large retailers.
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What is the re-localisation of agriculture?
A challenge to the productivist agricultural model that seeks to address social, environmental and economic issues arising from industrialisation. Usually involves shorter marketing chains
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What 3 methods might be used to give the consumer a greater sense of trust in the origins of their food?
Face-to-face: consumers buy directly from the producer;Spatial proximity- products are sold in the region they were grown; spatially extended- there is clear information about where the food was produced on the label
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What are the issues with deciding upon quality standards for food?
Subjective and contested
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What type of indicators for quality may be found on labels?
Region of origin, official certification e.g organic/fairtrade, niche markets e.g. freefrom, descriptions of taste, texture, freshness etc.
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What was the UK food safety act 1990?
Supermarkets now have to show diligence by demanding traceability for all products sold
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What is a PDO?
Protected designation of origin- product is produced exclusively in a geographic environment which ensures its quality
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What is a PGI?
Protected geographic indicator- product is produced only in one specific geographic region- quality is due to this but not because of the natural environment.
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What is a TSG?
Traditional speciality guaranteed? - Traditional composition or production method.
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Who manages protected food names (PFNs) in the EU?
European comission
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Why might speciality food production labels have limited success?
Often small- easy to overlook. Consumers choose quickly.
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What indicators are there that agri-food systems are becoming increasingly globalised?

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Internationally traded foods = increased % food production; increased food standardisation and regulatory institutions, consumer's tastes are becoming more similar, health and environmental externalities are having global effects.

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What effects is globalisation having on food systems?

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Preview of the front of card 3

Card 4

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Describe a case study illustrating how a more complicated supply chain can decrease product quality. Why did this occur?

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How has the structure of the global seed market changed over time?

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