Seeds of life or Seeds of suicide? From field to plate in our hand, everything is at the verge of monopolization. Corporations have taken possession over every resource on the planet earth, even including the source of life on earth, the seed. Control over seed in the food chain is like control over the source of the life, especially of the farmers. The deception that big players like Monsanto etc., are the creator of seeds, improving the lives of the farmers and thus, working to eradicate world hunger and food shortage sounds like a bedtime story set in utopia which stands in contradiction to the real fact that over a period of time they have hindered farmers’ source of earning and destroyed the basic farmer’s controlled seed system.
The notion of barriers imposed upon the food system by the nature has been negated by the corporations and they are moving towards consolidation which means less competition in the seed market, resulting in fewer choices for farmers and greater vulnerability for local farming communities and global food security. Power is flowing from the seed to the gene of the atom used for modifying crops genetically and the genomic database is controlled by the big corporations which have resulted in privatization of seeds. The first link in the food chain is in the hands of few players who further seek to consolidate with a view to reduce R&D and increase diversification of choice. The innovation is at the cost of basic agriculture sector, farmer’s life and global food security.
This corporate takeover of the agriculture sector has impoverished farmers, starved communities and force-fed us genetically-engineered crops, only to line the pockets of a handful of multinational corporations like Monsanto at the expense of farmers who are already struggling for livelihood around the world. The Gene Giants are forging unprecedented alliances that render competitive markets as just a name that exists in the books. By agreeing to cross-license proprietary germplasm and technologies, consolidate R&D efforts and terminate costly IP litigation, the world’s largest agrochemical and seed firms are reinforcing top-tier market power for mutual benefit. The lack of competition and innovation in the marketplace has reduced farmers’ choices and enabled these giants to raise prices unencumbered.
An epidemic of increasing farmers’ suicide in India is the result of shift to ‘Bt’ cotton i.e. Monsanto’s royalty extraction, and the high costs of seed and chemicals have created a debt trap. 95 per cent of India’s cotton seed is now controlled by Monsanto. Hence, corporation’s profit grows whereas that of a farmer declines and thus, the genetically modified seeds become the seeds of suicide. According to Government of India data, nearly 75 per cent rural debt is due to purchase inputs. Monsanto and DuPont controlled about 70% of the total U.S. retail market for corn seed and about 60% of the total U.S. retail market for soybean seed.
Monsanto’s $47 billion bid for Syngenta (so far rejected) is just the beginning of a feeding frenzy in corporate control of agricultural inputs sector. The aim of mega-merger is not to integrate strategies for climate smart innovations, but the market control. Farmers are paying disproportionately higher prices for seeds as a result of seed industry consolidation and patents.
Recently Bayer AG, a German Company offered $62 Billion to buy Monsanto Co., thereby staining its finance to become the world’s largest seller of seeds and farm chemicals. There is no doubt that they have already established defacto monopoly in the global seed market through many joint ventures and cross-licensing arrangements. The business media have reported that Monsanto is in separate talks with Bayer and BASF – the two German giants among agricultural input companies. While anti-competition regulators are fussing about the hook-up of DuPont with Dow, and of Syngenta with Chem China. Thus, we can see the big six becoming the titanic three, and thereby controlling more than 65% of global pesticide sales and almost 61% of commercial seed sales. More than 570 million peasant families that really feed the world bear the burden of these skewed policies – not just as a direct attack – but as collateral damage. The more concentrated the lobbying power of industrial agriculture, the more destruction to the Peasant Food Web and agro-ecological food systems.
In order to safeguard the agriculture sector, companies with both seed and chemical divisions should be broken up and national level anti-trust review should be done while taking into account new factors of production, public policy, biodiversity, sustainability and right to food etc. And enforcement can be the most effective method to curb this tightening oligopoly, which has always been the challenge to the anti-trust law. Proper investigation of the so-called climate smart agricultural consolidation should take place and possession of the sources of life should be examined on the stands of survival and starvation. Action is urgently needed to monitor, regulate and curb corporate power before agriculture sector, producing the natural source of life, is further compromised with.
 http://www.etcgroup.org/files/publication/707/01/etc_won_report_final_color.pdf : Retrieved on 2nd July 2016
 https://www.organicconsumers.org/news/monsanto-putting-normal-seeds-out-reach: Retrieved on 2nd July 2016
 http://www.globalresearch.ca/the-seeds-of-suicide-how-monsanto-destroys-farming/5329947: Retrieved on 2nd July 2016
http://www.etcgroup.org/sites/www.etcgroup.org/files/files/etcgroup_agmergers_22oct2015.pptx_.pdf : Retrieved on 4th July 2016
 http://www.etcgroup.org/content/merge-santo-new-threat-food-sovereignty: Retrieved on 4th July 2016
 http://www.fao.org/docrep/019/i3729e/i3729e.pdf : Retrieved on 5th July 2016
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