In contrast, 76 per cent of crop calories in the Chain is either wasted or diverted, e.g. into biofuels. Peasants in the Web have bred 2.1 million varieties of 7,000 crop species, compared to the Chain’s 0.1 million seed varieties. And while peasants have domesticated at least numerous species of livestock and nurtured several thousands of breeds, the Chain concentrates on a mere handful of species and less than 100 commercial breeds. The resulting extreme genetic uniformity, the ETC Group argues, is to blame for a rise in zoonotic diseases and their increasing incidence among humans.

According to ETC Group, the Chain uses more than 75 per cent of agricultural land and destroys 75 million tonnes of topsoil annually, while the pesticides it applies threaten soil microbes and pollinators. Whereas agriculture in general accounts for 70 per cent of the world’s freshwater withdrawals, the Chain uses most of this amount in irrigation, livestock and processing.