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OXFAM RESEARCH REPORTS AUGUST 2012 CEREAL SECRETS The world's largest grain traders and global agriculture MS. SOPHIA MURPHY INDEPENDENT CONSULTANT AND SENIOR ADVISOR AT THE INSTITUTE FOR AGRICULTURE AND TRADE POLICY DR. DAVID BURCH HONORARY PROFESSOR SOCIOLOGY, THE UNIVERSITY OF QUEENSLAND DR. JENNIFER CLAPP PROFESSOR, ENVIRONMENT AND RESOURCE STUDIES AND INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS, UNIVERSITY OF WATERLOO The four big commodity traders – Archer Daniels Midland (ADM), Bunge, Cargill and Louis Dreyfus, collectively referred to as ‘the ABCD companies’ – are dominant traders of grain globally and central to the modern agri-food system. This report considers the ABCDs in relation to several global issues pressing on agriculture: the ‘financialization’ of both commodity trade and agricultural production; the emergence of global competitors to the ABCDs, in particular from Asia; and some of the implications of large-scale industrial biofuels, a sector in which the ABCDs are closely involved. The report includes a discussion of how smallholders in developing countries are affected by these changes, and highlights some development policy implications, given the importance of the ABCD firms in shaping the world of food and agriculture. The report highlights the ways in which these four firms are decisive actors in the global restructuring of the overlapping food, feed, and fuel complexes that is now under way, and considers how the firms are evolving as they respond to and shape the new pressures and opportunities in the modern agri-food system. Oxfam Research Reports are written to share research results, to contribute to public debate and to invite feedback on development and humanitarian policy and practice. They do not necessarily reflect Oxfam policy positions. The views expressed are those of the authors and not necessarily those of Oxfam.

Cereal Secrets: The world’s largest grain traders and global agriculture

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