For those concerned about the long-term effects of genetically modified (GMO) seeds, 2017 is going to bring changes in agriculture that will not be well received. We’ve seen companies purchase rights to seed, alter it in some imperceptible way, and then file a patent on the seed so that they have control of the price and market. There are three deals in the works that will give three giant agrochemical companies control of over half the seed produced world-wide and tighten the noose around smaller companies that are passionate about protecting non-hybrid seed. For the non-gardeners, seed can be saved from non-hybrid plants and will produce true to form the following year. Hybrid plants will not which means dependency on purchasing seed that might otherwise be perpetuated at home.
German owned Bayer bid $66 billion to purchase Monsanto according to Reuters. Bayer isn’t just a producer of aspirin. They are a mega producer of crop chemicals and with their purchase of Monsanto will control a huge portion of seed sales worldwide.
ChemChina is trying to purchase Syngenta Seeds. It has sought European Union approval to purchase the Swiss company and says it will consolidate it with state-owned Chinese companies. Interestingly, China has not approved using GMO corn, and has refused shipments of U.S. grown corn that contained GMO traits. Syngenta has defended its right to add a protein to kill corn-eating bugs like earworms and cutworms. The corn is known as Agrisure Viptera. Syngenta was facing an increasing number of lawsuits from farmers whose profits are down by an estimated one billion dollars because of China’s refusal to purchase corn with GMO traits.
China detected the Viptera corn in several U.S. shipments in November 2013 and the following February started refusing shipments. By October that year they had refused some 130 million bushels. For more details on the acquisition please see Bloomberg Markets.
If ChemChina purchases Syngenta what course of action do they plan regarding the production of GMO seed? Since China is the largest foreign holder of U.S. debt (some 1.24 trillion dollars) do they have plans to raise the price on seed to recoup some of that debt? He who controls the seed controls the world’s food production.
DuPont and Dow, two of the largest U.S. seed companies have announced a planned merger which will spawn a 130 billion dollar company. Does anyone think a smaller company trying to preserve non-hybrid seed stands a prayer of competing with such a monster? Farmers and gardeners can expect higher prices for seeds and any chemicals they require and the merger will likely spell doom for those fighting the GMO seed battle. Everyone can expect to pay more at the grocery store as increased prices for seed, fertilizer, insecticides, etc. rise.
The Dow/DuPont merger is currently under investigation by Europe’s top antitrust watchdog. Perhaps they realize the devastating results creating such a monopoly could have world-wide. If you want a voice in the issue, sign the petition at www.foodandwaterwatch.org.
To comprehend the importance of these mergers, ChemChina’s purchase of Syngenta was the largest business deal worldwide for 2016 until it was eclipsed by the purchase of Monsanto by Bayer. The mergers are not aimed at helping the farmer put food on your table, nor the home gardener in filling freezer and pantry.
Please consider purchasing seed from a reliable heirloom seed producer such as: Baker Creek, Sow True Seed, Seed Saver’s Exchange, Southern Exposure Seed Exchange, High Mowing Seeds, Annie’s Heirloom Seeds, Fedco Seeds, Renee’s Garden Seed, Nantahala Seeds, Johnny’s Selected Seeds, Territorial Seed Co., Seeds of Change, etc.
Source: CNN Money.