Farmer vs. industry

Effects of industrial food production

The impact of industrial food production on farmers in the developing world is complex and can vary by context and region. In general, however, there are several factors that impact farmers

Economic consequences

The challenge is to minimize the negative impacts and enhance the positive impacts to promote sustainable and equitable development.

Price pressure: The industrialization of food production has in many cases led to a concentration of market power in the hands of a few large food corporations. These corporations often exert enormous price pressure on farmers, who are forced to sell their products at low prices. This can lead to farmers in the developing world falling into poverty and having difficulty feeding their families.

Dependence on agrochemical inputs: Industrial agriculture often requires the use of agrochemical inputs such as pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers. These inputs can be expensive and lead farmers in the developing world into a dependency on multinational chemical corporations. They can also cause long-term environmental and health problems.

Landgrabbing: The growing demand for agricultural products in the industrialized world has led to an increase in land grabbing in the developing world. Foreign companies buy large areas of land to use for the cultivation of export products, often leading to the displacement of farmers and indigenous communities.

Displacement of traditional farming methods: The industrialization of agriculture can lead to the displacement of traditional farming methods. This can have both environmental and cultural impacts, as traditional methods are often adapted to the specific conditions and needs of local communities.

Climate change: The effects of climate change are often particularly noticeable in the developing world. Industrial agriculture can contribute to exacerbating climate change, for example through the use of fossil fuels or deforestation. Farmers in the developing world are often most affected by the impacts of climate change, as they often live in areas that are particularly vulnerable to droughts, floods and other weather extremes.

Health consequences

In the industrial production of food, too much sugar and fat is often used because it helps to improve the taste and texture of food and make it last longer.

Sugar and fat are also relatively cheap ingredients compared to other, healthier alternatives such as fruits, vegetables or whole grains. Sugar and fat can also help make foods more appealing to consumers by giving them a sweet or salty flavor. This can lead consumers to buy more of these foods, which is more profitable for the food industry. 

Another factor is the use of processing technologies that allow food to be produced quickly and efficiently to meet consumer demand. Many of these technologies use sugar and fat as preservatives and flavor enhancers to extend the shelf life of foods and make them more appealing to consumers.

However, the use of sugar and fat in the food industry has many disadvantages for health, such as obesity, diabetes, heart disease and other related conditions. For this reason, many governments and health organizations are working to reduce the consumption of sugary and fatty foods and promote the use of healthier alternatives.

Healthy & Local

Locally grown fruits and vegetables are healthier than products from industry. Locally grown fruits and vegetables have more nutrients than products from industry. It is fresher, contains fewer pesticides and has a greater variety of types.

Fresh: Locally grown fruits and vegetables are usually fresher than products from the industry, because they do not have to be transported for so long. The longer fruits and vegetables are stored, the more nutrients are lost.

Maturity: Locally grown fruits and vegetables are often harvested ripe, which means they are full of nutrients. Produce from the industry is often harvested unripe so that it lasts longer, which means that it contains fewer nutrients.

Processing: Products from industry are often processed to extend their shelf life. However, nutrients can be lost during the processing process. Locally grown fruits and vegetables are usually less processed, which means they contain more nutrients.

Pesticides: Locally grown fruits and vegetables are often treated with fewer pesticides than products from the industry. Pesticides can be harmful to health, especially when consumed in large quantities.

Variety: Locally grown fruits and vegetables can have a greater variety than products from the industry. Different varieties contain different nutrients and can help promote a varied and healthy diet.