The BAYER corporation has confirmed that it is holding talks with MONSANTO about a possible fusion. The deal would create the biggest agribusiness corporation in the world by a long shot, with terrible consequences for farmers, nature, consumers and its employees.
CBG board member Axel Köhler-Schnura said: “It’s alarming. Henry Kissinger once remarked ‘control food and you control the people’. The merger may lead to a global food monopoly. It is a grave threat for global food security.”
Global agribusiness is already heavily concentrated in very few hands. While in 1985 the total market share of the ten biggest seed companies was only 12.5%, in 2011 BAYER, BASF, DUPONT, MONSANTO, SYNGENTA etc. had already reached 75.3%. In the past two years the situation has got even worse. DUPONT bought DOW and CHEM-CHINA took over SYNGENTA. It is above all the financial markets that are exerting pressure. The internal growth of the agribusiness giants is no longer enough for large investors such as BLACKROCK, which is why they are pushing for these fusions.
These oligopolistic structures go hand in hand with an innovation backlog. Widely-used harmful pesticides like BAYER’s Glufosinate or MONSANTO’s Glyphosate were created back in the 1970s. BAYER itself concedes that due to a lack of competition no new herbicides have been developed. BAYER researcher Dr Hermann Stübler explained: “Since more than 25 years ago the global pest management industry has not developed and marketed a commercially successful herbicide with a new chemical mechanism for large scale applications – amongst other things a consequence of the increasing concentration of business, which went hand in hand with a considerable reduction in research expenditure for new herbicides.” As a consequence of this more and more wild plants are becoming resistant to them and farmers have to apply more and more agrochemicals, with a devastating impact on biodiversity.
The corporations respond to the research crisis by giving access to each other’s pesticides when developing genetically modified plants. This allows them to immunise their GMO crops against several agrochemicals simultaneously, giving farmers more flexibility with the application of the substances, while at the same time increasing the dependency on big agribusiness.
The Coalition against BAYER Dangers points out that BAYER had no compunction in leading the US joint venture MOBAY with MONSANTO from 1954-1967 where it was involved in the production of components of AGENT ORANGE for the Vietnam war.