DW Documentary – Feb 21, 2020 – Video 42 min
Industrial agriculture is increasingly dominating the world market. It’s forcing small farmers to quit and taking over vast swathes of land. This documentary shows how destructive the lucrative agribusiness is.
Whether in the USA, Brazil, Mozambique or China, agricultural giants rule the market. Food production has become a gigantic business as climate change and population growth continue. This is having devastating consequences for small farmers and for the environment. On the banks of North Carolina’s New River, there’s a vile stench. Clean water activist Rick Dove takes a flight to show us what’s causing the smell. Scores and scores of pigs are living upriver, in so many pens the farms look more like small towns. “We have eight to ten million pigs here. And the problem is that they are kept so close together and their excrement pollutes and threatens the water and natural life on the North Carolina coastline.” From above, you can see large cesspools everywhere, shimmering red-brown in the sun. Dove is giving us a bird’s-eye view of industrialized agriculture. In the late 1970s, companies in the US began to industrialize farming. Large corporations like Smithfield built entire value chains, from raising livestock to slaughter to packaging and sales. A Chinese holding company bought Smithfield a few years ago. Industrial meat production is supposed to support increased Chinese demand for meat as the country’s prosperity grows. Dan Basse is the head of a company analyses global agriculture. He says calorie demand will also increase in countries like India, Bangladesh and Nigeria in the next few years.” And with it, the demand for even more inexpensive meat of the kind agribusinesses produce and market.