[NAFEX] Revealed: how seed market is controlled by Monsanto, Syngenta, Bayer, Dow & DuPont
hangermayer at isp.com
Wed Oct 13 16:03:15 EDT 2010
Just a note, Dr. Howard earned his Ph.D in Rural Sociology. I'm not
conducting an ad homenium attack, just pointing out his training is not in
As far as his statements, this may seem strange (and wrong to some folks on
Nafex) but it's difficult to think of anything more ridiculous than his
statement of saving and replanting seeds.
Please don't confuse that with the terrible destruction of seed banks, which
I'm wholeheartedly against. But farmers haven't saved seed back to replant
for 50 years. As an aside, this is not about Bt corn vs. non Bt corn. It's
a much larger issue than that.
It would be akin to a commercial producer planting seeds of improved fruit
cultivars, while disregarding the enormous genetic improvement of the
parents gained through painstaking research.
Mind you, experiment through seeds has its place to improve genetic
progress, but it has no place at the commercial level. It's extremely
costly to try to determine superior cultivars while trying to produce food,
as mistakes are multiplied at the commercial level by many factors vs. the
Dr. Howard statement about patents are more political in nature than
scientific. I'm not against patents because they obviously provide an
incentive for research. However, I do agree occasionally patent claims are
over-the-top when certain genes are patented. Likewise with club varieties
and trade names which never expire.
Lastly, regarding Lucky's comments, from a farmer's perspective, I can
attest to the nemesis of mycotoxins. Too many ppm and it caused abortions
----- Original Message -----
From: "mIEKAL aND" <>
To: "permaculture" <>; <; "North American Fruit Explorers"
<nafex at lists.ibiblio.org>
Sent: Wednesday, October 13, 2010 11:00 AM
Subject: [NAFEX] Revealed: how seed market is controlled by Monsanto,
Syngenta, Bayer, Dow & DuPont
> Revealed: how seed market is controlled by Monsanto, Syngenta, Bayer,
> Dow & DuPont
> Tom Levitt
> 7th October, 2010
> Graphic illustrates how just five biotech giants have increased their
> control of the global seed market, promoting monoculture farming and
> making it harder for farmers to find alternative sources of seeds
> Since the mid-1990s just five biotech giants - Monsanto, Syngenta,
> Bayer, Dow and DuPont - have bought up more than 200 other companies
> between them to dominate our access to seeds.
> Philip Howard from Michigan State university, who has produced a
> unique visual to illustrate this growing concentration of power in the
> hands of a few companies, says the takeover of the seed market has
> been 'dramatic' and that it is getting harder for farmers to find
> In the US for example, where 90 per cent of the soybeans grown are
> genetically-modified varieties, many conventional farmers have had
> difficulty obtaining non-genetically modified seeds to plant.
> Howard says the increasing power of these seed companies is
> 'incompatible' with renewable agricultural practices such as saving
> and replanting seeds. He says one solution to restricting their
> control would be through banning the practice of granting patents on
> seeds, plants and genes.
> A patent gives a company exclusive rights to sell and develop a new
> invention. In the case of patents on plants and genes it grants them
> temporary monopolies and bans farmers from saving seeds, forcing them
> to buy new seeds from the company each year or pay a license to use
> patented seeds they have saved.
> Howard and others argue that 'excessive seed patenting' by the biotech
> giants is allowing them to control a large number of seeds and leading
> to an increase in seed prices and a decrease of seed choices for
> The groundbreaking IAASTD report in 2008, conducted by 400 scientists
> from around the world, criticised patents for driving up costs and
> restricting experimentation by farmers in developing countries.
> A report, 'Future of seeds and food', published last year by a
> coalition of campaign groups, including Greenpeace, called for an end
> to patents on seeds to halt the domination of biotech giants like
> Syngenta. It says only bigger seed companies can afford to apply and
> enforce a patent.
> 'Patents exacerbate genetic erosion as they promote monoculture by
> hindering the development of new seed varieties. In sum, the possible,
> long term consequences of patents are control of the whole food chain
> by a few companies.
> 'What is needed most is a clear legal ruling that exempts seeds and
> farm animals from patent protection,' said the report.
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