Washington, D.C. — “The Justice Department today approved the Bayer-Monsanto seed and agrichemical mega-merger after requiring divestitures amounting to about one-seventh of the original deal. The Justice Department is requiring the sale of $9 billion in seeds and technologies to German chemical firm BASF, the smallest of the now big-four seed and agrichemical companies. The approval of the third supersized seed merger, after ChemChina-Syngenta and Dow-DuPont, leaves farmers vulnerable to price gouging for seeds and other supplies, increases control of farmers’ data and strengthens the hold a few dominant corporations have over the entire food system.
“The Justice Department should have blocked this merger. Farmers are already facing low crop prices and now they are likely to face higher prices for seeds and agrichemical inputs. The divestiture generally sold the weaker assets—Bayer’s vegetable seeds and precision agriculture technology (and data), which pale in comparison to Monsanto’s rival products. Even with the divestiture, BASF will not be able to rapidly absorb these new business lines and create a credible competitor in the hyper-consolidated seed market.
“Ultimately, the deal will make it harder for farmers to find non-GMO seeds for crops like soybeans and corn and could make it harder to find non-GMO fruit and vegetable seeds because both firms have been working to impose biotechnology on the last bastion of non-GMO crops. The approved deal reduces the choices farmers have over what they plant and how they grow it and makes it harder for agriculture to get off the GMO-chemical treadmill that just keeps increasing in speed.
“The Justice Department’s rubber stamping of these three seed mega-mergers transforms the already concentrated agrichemical and seed market, effectively reducing the number of competitors from six to three, with BASF a laggard fourth. It is time for Congress to step in and put a strategic pause on the wave of agribusiness and food mega-mergers by establishing a moratorium on mega-mergers in the food system.”
Food & Water Watch champions healthy food and clean water for all. We stand up to corporations that put profits before people, and advocate for a democracy that improves people’s lives and protects our environment.
Contact: Darcey Rakestraw, 202-683-2467; [email protected]