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  • Matteo De Vos

FFS 039 - The Invisible ABCD Giants and the Financialisation of Food

Four grain trading giants - collectively known as the ABCDs - dominate international grain trade in our global food system. Knowing who they are and what they do is vital to understand the whys and hows of our modern food supply. 


A key branch of ABCD power and influence are their financial subsidiaries. Financialisation in the food system today has widespread and alarming implications. Local food movements, farmers and consumers must take heed of these global forces, or risk being crowded out by private interests pursuing profits over people and planet.




Dr. Jennifer Clapp joins us to discuss:

  • Who the ABCDs are, where and how they operate, and why they dominate

  • Recent ABCD mergers and acquisitions and the impact of Trump’s trade war with China

  • The merging of food & finance: the financialisation of futures markets

  • How financial speculation helped fuel the 2008 food price crisis

  • Why financial investors moved en masse to acquire farmland

  • ABCD involvement in the financialisation of the food system

  • How to regulate invisible giants and the financialisation of food


Dr. Clapp is a Canada Research Chair in Global Food Security and Sustianability and Professor in the School of Environment, Resources and Sustainability at the University of Waterloo, Canada. She has published widely on the global governance of problems that arise at the intersection of the global economy, the environment, and food security. Her current research focuses on the implications of financial markets and transnational corporations for food system sustainability. Her most recent books include Speculative Harvests: Financialization, Food, and Agriculture (with S. Ryan Isakson, Fernwood Press, 2018), Food, 2nd Edition (Polity, 2016), Hunger in the Balance: The New Politics of International Food Aid (Cornell University Press, 2012), and Corporate Power in Global Agrifood Governance (co-edited with Doris Fuchs, MIT Press, 2009).


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