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Community Organizations GRAIN
Intergovernmental or Multilateral organization


GRAIN is a small international non-profit organisation that works to support small farmers and social movements in their struggles for community-controlled and biodiversity-based food systems. Our support takes the form of independent research and analysis, networking at local, regional and international levels, and fostering new forms of cooperation and alliance-building. Most of our work is oriented towards, and carried out in, Africa, Asia and Latin America.

GRAIN’s work goes back to the early 1980s, when a number of activists around the world started drawing attention to the dramatic loss of genetic diversity on our farms — the very cornerstone of the world’s food supply.

We began doing research, advocacy and lobbying work under the auspices of a coalition of mostly European development organisations. That work soon expanded into a larger programme and network that needed its own footing. In 1990, Genetic Resources Action International, or GRAIN for short, was legally established as an independent non-profit foundation with its headquarters in Barcelona, Spain.

By the mid-1990s, GRAIN reached an important turning point. We realised that we needed to connect more with the real alternatives that were being developed on the ground, in the South. Around the world, and at local level, many groups had begun rescuing local seeds and traditional knowledge and building and defending sustainable biodiversity-based food systems under the control of local communities, while turning their backs on the laboratory developed ‘solutions’ that had only got farmers into deeper trouble. In a radical organisational shift, GRAIN embarked on a decentralisation process that brought us into closer contact with realities on the ground in the South, and into direct collaboration with partners working at that level. At the same time, we brought a number of those partners into our governing body and started regionalising our staff pool.

By the turn of the century, GRAIN had transformed itself from a mostly Europe-based information and lobbying group into a dynamic and truly international collective — functioning as a coherent organisation — that was linking and connecting with local realities in the South as well as developments at the global level. In that process, GRAIN’s agenda shifted away from lobbying and advocacy much more towards directly supporting and collaborating with social movements, while retaining our key strength in independent research and analysis.

GRAIN is an organisation that represents no one but itself. However, it is through collaboration and partnerships that we link in with local and national realities and play a meaningful role in our information, research, advocacy and networking activities, be it in the regions or at international level. In fact, we work with many groups in different parts of the world to produce and disseminate collaborative publications and analyses, and engage in other collaborative projects.

Between April and June 2012, GRAIN underwent its latest external evaluation. This evaluation focused on GRAIN’s work on land grabbing, over the period 2008-2011. The executive summary and recommendations are available here. (A copy of the full report can be made available on request.)



Displaying 1 - 5 of 49

GRAIN en 2023 : l'essentiel de nos activités

Reports & Research
July, 2024
Terres australes et antarctiques françaises
Australie et Nouvelle-Zélande

La concentration du pouvoir des entreprises dans le système alimentaire est restée un défi redoutable en 2023, mais GRAIN, avec ses partenaires et allié·es, a continué à défendre la souveraineté alimentaire comme véritable alternative.

AELE -Mercosur : un nouveau coup bas porté au climat, aux droits des peuples et à la souveraineté alimentaire

Reports & Research
April, 2021
  • Les émissions provenant de l’augmentation des échanges bilatéraux de 10 produits agricoles clés devraient augmenter de 15 %, si l'accord de libre-échange entre l'Association européenne de libre-échange (AELE) et le Mercosur est mis en œuvre. 
  • Les exportations de viande de bœuf, de maïs et soja du Mercosur constitueront la principale source des nouvelles émissions (47 %), suivie par les exportations de fromage depuis l'AELE (15 %). 
  • L'empreinte climatique du Mercosur

Imbroglio around 20,000 ha in northern Senegal

December, 2020

This article argues that while we know that the demand for land and natural resources has significantly accelerated in the last decade;it remains very difficult to gauge the exact size of the land rush. Many studies that look into how much land is affected give vastly diverging numbers. Local elites and diaspora investors are known for controlling large areas in their home countries and their activities tend to be even less transparent than those of international investors. Many studies choose not to include domestic investors.

Accaparements de terres à main armée : Des milliers de familles sont violemment expulsées de leurs fermes en Ouganda

Reports & Research
July, 2020

Trois sociétés multinationales – Agilis Partners, Kiryandongo Sugar Limited and Great Season SMC Limited – sont impliquées dans des accaparements de terres, des expulsions violentes de personnes hors de leurs habitations et à l'origine d'innombrables humiliations et du désespoir de milliers de familles demeurant dans le district de Kiryandongo, en Ouganda.

Land Grabs at Gunpoint

July, 2020

Argues that the classic problematics of agrarian studies;around production;accumulation and politics;apply as much to pastoralists as they do to peasants. Processes of social differentiation and class formation;the role of wage labour and questions around mobilisation and politics are consistently relevant. However;a reflection on a large literature on pastoralism across nine world regions reveals that there are nevertheless some important contrasts with classic representations of a settled peasantry.