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Capitalism

 

September 14, 2016 - GruntVegan

Drug and chemical giant Bayer swallows GMO kingpin Monsanto

Drug and chemical giant Bayer swallows GMO kingpin Monsanto

The union of Bayer and Monsanto will have far reaching implications for food, health and planet Earth.

According to Aisha Dodwell, a food campaigner with Global Justice Now, the Monsanto takeover "would potentially create the world's biggest seed and pesticide company". "We're speeding towards a situation where our global food system is controlled by a very few giant corporate entities who will have complete control of our food - what we eat and how it is grown."

The proposed deal is subject to regulatory approval in Germany and the US. The Atlantic reports that "Monsanto's focus on genetically modified crops has put the deal under scrutiny in Europe, where such crops are viewed with deep suspicion".

If it does go through, it will mean a significant change in the makeup of the global crop and seed industry. Bayer, known for making Aspirin and Alka Seltzer, will become primarily an Agribusiness with access to, in the words of Bloomberg, "more than 2,000 varieties of seeds for crops such as corn, soybeans, and wheat" in addition to the rice and cotton seeds they have already developed. 

And this is just one more major consolidation for the globe's agricultural industry or now more appropriately referred to as the Agrichemical business, since the global crop and seed industry is now tightly integrated with the chemical industry

Reuters reports that other recent high-profile mergers on the table include the pending deal between Down Chemical and DuPont, which "plan to merge and spin off their seeds and crop chemicals operations into a major agribusiness" and China's state owned ChemChina's purchase of the swiss firm Singenta AG. They go on to warn that "if all these deals close, three companies would control nearly 70 percent of the world's pesticide market and 80 percent of the U.S. corn-seed market." 

The industry wants us to believe that the only way to solve the world's food security issues and feed growing populations is to push forward with their proprietary seeds and herbicides. Bayer CEO Werner Baumann told EcoWatch that "we are fully committed to helping solve one of the biggest challenges of society, and that is how to feed a massively growing world population in an environmentally sustainable manner." 

In a world dominated by agrichemical giants the risks include:

  • Less crop diversity and depletion of the Earth's soil due to massive scale monoculture
  • Loss of control over how our food is produced and distributed
  • Damage to our ecosystem as a whole by the increased use of agrichemicals
  • Increased vulnerability to superpests and drought, and
  • Unknown health effects from exposure to Genetically Engineered (GE/GMO) foods.

Monsanto, was originally founded in 1901 as a chemical company producing food additives such as saccharin, is now a leading producer of genetically engineered (GE) seed and Roundup, a glyphosate-based herbicide, is based in the U.S. Wikipedia states that "the company also formerly manufactured controversial products such as the insecticide DDT, PCBs, Agent Orange, and recombinant bovine growth hormone".  

Bayer AG is a German multinational chemical and pharmaceutical company founded in 1863. In its early days, Bayer trademarked "heroin" and marketed it as a cough suppressant and non-addictive substitute for morphine from 1898 to 1910 and in 1903 Bayer licensed the patent for the hypnotic drug diethylbarbituic acid which was marketed as a sleep aid the next year under the trade name Veronal reports Wikipedia. But more recently its BayerCropscience business develops genetically modified crops and pesticides. And as reported by EcoWatch, they have come under scrutiny over their insecticide imidacloprid, which is part of the group of chemicals known as neonicotinoids that have been linked to widespread deaths of bees.

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