Millions of small-scale
farmers around the world live in poverty.
major challenge facing children and families in poverty is the threat of
large companies acquiring land and resources in developing countries, known as land grabbing. These
global conglomerates, which largely operate within the food and beverage
industries, reap the rewards of the cheap labor by millions of farmers, who
often are living in extreme poverty even as they contribute to providing food
'Behind the Brands'
Beginning as part of Oxfam's
GROW campaign, Behind the Brands is one initiative that is attempting to make a
difference in the lives of workers living in poverty. The basic goal behind the
campaign is to raise awareness about how global food and beverage companies
treat their workers, and scores are given out to the 10 largest companies to let
the public know how their policies affect small-scale farmers and workers.
According to the International Assessment of Agricultural Science and
Technology for Development, many small farmers have not benefited from international trade. Although there is a demand for the food produced by the farmers,
land grabs from large companies, unfair labor practices, and related harmful practices
have weakened economies of the surrounding communities. Behind the Brands found
that approximately 60
percent of the small-scale farmers and workers providing supplies and
services to large companies are living below the poverty line.
multinational corporations have responded to initiatives like Behind the Brands and
revamped operations. For example, three of the largest players in the chocolate
industry — Mondelez International, Mars and Nestlé
— have agreed to change policies to improve the lives of cocoa farmers
throughout the world. Responding to pressure from organizations and consumers,
these brands will now seek to
evaluate how their workers in developing countries are treated, according to
Looking Out for Farmers
Although the quality of
life may be improving for some workers and families in developing countries, there
is still much to be done to achieve sustainable development. You can make a difference in the lives of children in
need by becoming a child sponsor. For just $28 per month, you
can sponsor a child and help supply a boy or girl with the nutritious food, clean water, educational
opportunities and health care they need to grow into healthy, independent
adults. Your generosity can make a world of difference as these children strive
to break out from generational poverty and become independent adults.