• Figures published today by Greenpeace show that, food imports rocketed by more than 650 per cent between 2008 and 2022 in Kenya.
  • New research shows twenty food multinational corporations gave more in dividends to their shareholders than the UN says is necessary to meet the basic needs of all the world’s most vulnerable people this year.

Nairobi, 28 February 2023 –  Figures published today by Greenpeace show that between 2008 and 2022, food imports rocketed by more than 650 per cent in Kenya. [1] This reflects how, with the support of many African governments, the global food system forces imports on Africans, when they could be producing and profiting from a higher proportion of their own food.

A report published by Greenpeace today exposes how twenty food multinational corporations gave $53.5 billion to their shareholders in 2020 and 2021, years dominated by the Covid-19 pandemic and the fallout from the war in Ukraine.[2] That is more than enough to fund the basic needs of all the world’s most vulnerable people this year, according to the UN.[3] That system is controlled by a small number of wealthy corporations in order to ensure they can produce vast profits.

The report shows that the lack of clear data from food corporations about the food system is a key reason for speculation and rising food prices. Four companies in the USA and Europe – Archer-Daniels Midland, Cargill, Bunge and Dreyfus – control 70-90% of the world’s grain trade, but are under no obligation to disclose what they know about global markets, including their own grain stocks.[4] Greenpeace’s new research shows that this allows companies to withhold information that would help to stabilise prices, were it published with full transparency.

“This is the new colonialism. Africa’s governments have allowed the ultra-rich of the US and Europe to retain too much power over Africans and our food system. They constructed a system that would be vulnerable to shocks like the Covid-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine, a system which would allow them to profiteer as food prices change, a system in which they can push up those prices. It’s because of them that war and plague lead to famine – and to the rich getting richer,” said Greenpeace Africa’s Communication and Story Manager, Hellen Dena. 

“But it doesn’t have to be this way. Africans are rising up to demand change. Smallholder farmers have filed a case in court over a punitive seed law that criminalise farmers for selling and sharing seeds that are unregistered and uncertified. Limiting farmers from sharing and selling seeds will reduce diverse seed access thus further aggravating food insecurity and over-dependence on imports in the country,”continued Dena.

“Kenya’s government must promote sustainable farming methods such as ecological farming that are resilient to climate shocks and help producers and consumers control the food chain. Ecological farming will ensure that Kenyans have better access to food, it will protect jobs,  reduce the emissions that cause extreme weather and protect the biodiversity we depend on,” concluded Dena.


Notes to editor

Read the full report 

[1] New research commissioned by Greenpeace Africa. The original source for this figure was Sika Finance.

[2] New new Food Injustice report, published today by Greenpeace International, found that in the financial years 2020 and 2021, twenty corporations – the biggest in the sectors of grain, fertiliser, meat and dairy – delivered approximately $53.5 billion to shareholders.

[3] According to the 2023 Global Humanitarian overview, the estimated cost of the humanitarian response going into 2023 is US$51.5 billion, a 25 per cent increase compared to the beginning of 2022. This amount can save and support the lives of a combined 230 million people worldwide. 

[4] IPES report, Another Perfect Storm?, identifies four companies that control 70% of the world’s grain trade.


Hellen Kahaso Dena,
Communications and Story Manager,
[email protected], +254 717 104 144

Greenpeace International press desk (24 hours), [email protected], +31 207 18 247 0

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