ABCD and beyond: From grain merchants to agricultural value chain managers
MetadataShow full item record
The world of agricultural commodity trading firms has changed over the years, although corporate concentration has long been a defining feature of this sector. The four dominant agricultural trading firms—the ABCDs (ADM, Bunge, Cargill and Louis-Dreyfus)—have a long history dating back to the 1800s and early 1900s. First established as private, family-owned grain merchant companies with specific geographical specialties, these firms have since evolved to be quite complex companies. They buy and sell grain as well as a host of other agricultural and non-agricultural commodities, while they also undertake a range of activities from finance to production to processing and distribution. New entrants into this space have also taken on complex structures and activities in a bid to stay competitive. In many ways the world’s major grain trading firms now operate more like cross-sectoral “value chain managers” on a truly global scale compared to their grain trade origins. High degrees of concentration combined with control over a vast array of activities give these firms enormous power to shape key aspects of the global food landscape. As a result, the agricultural commodity-trading sector has important implications for farmer livelihoods, hunger and the environment. Following a brief snapshot of the main firms that dominate global grain trading today, I examine the major trends that have reshaped the sector in the past decade. I then outline the main challenges that these changes present for the food system, and suggest possible research directions moving forward.
Cite this version of the work
Jennifer Clapp (2015). ABCD and beyond: From grain merchants to agricultural value chain managers. UWSpace. http://hdl.handle.net/10012/11493
The following license files are associated with this item: