April 10, 2018. On Monday April 9, the Wall Street Journal reported that the United States Department of Justice has agreed to allow a merger between seed and pesticide companies Bayer and Monsanto, creating the largest seed and pesticide company in the world. A US approval means that Canada could also soon permit the merger.
The US Department of Justice has not yet officially announced the deal, along with any conditions for the approval. Europe allowed the merger on the condition that Bayer sell some of its seeds, pesticides and digital farming investments to remove overlaps with Monsanto.
A decision from Canada’s Competition Bureau is also required but no timeline has been provided. The proposed merger requires regulatory approval from anti-trust agencies across the world.
“A US decision brings a Canadian announcement closer,” said Lucy Sharratt of the Canadian Biotechnology Action Network (CBAN). “Canada is on the verge of making a decision that will affect farmers and consumers for many decades. It will shape the future of food and farming in Canada and across the world.”
The new merged company could control around 30 percent of the world’s commercial seed market and 25 percent of agricultural pesticides.
“A merger of this size creates an unprecedented level of corporate control over seeds and pesticides,” said Sharratt.
CBAN is calling on The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development to stop the merger.
By Colin Todhunter – Aug 29, 2017: As humans, we have evolved with the natural environment over millennia. We have learned what to eat and what not to eat, what to grow and how to grow it and our diets have developed accordingly. We have hunted, gathered, planted and harvested. Our overall survival as a species has been based on gradual, emerging relationships with the seasons, insects, soil, animals, trees and seeds. And out of these relationships, we have seen the development of communities whose rituals and bonds have a deep connection with food production and the natural environment.
However, over the last couple generations, agriculture and food production has changed more than it had done over previous millennia. These changes have involved massive social upheaval as communities and traditions have been uprooted and have entailed modifying what we eat, how we grow our food and what we apply to it. All of this has been driven by geopolitical concerns and powerful commercial interests with their proprietary chemicals and patented seeds. The process of neoliberal globalisation is accelerating the process as farmers are encouraged to produce for global supply chains dominated by transnational agribusiness.
Certain crops are now genetically engineered, the range of crops we grow has become less diverse, synthetic biocides have been poured on crops and soil and our bodies have been subjected to a chemical bombardment. We have arrived at a point where we have lost touch with our deep-rooted microbiological and social connection with nature and have developed an arrogance that has placed ‘man’ above the environment and all other species. One of the consequences is that we have paid an enormous price in terms of the consequent social, environmental and health-related devastation.