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02/22/2017 / By Ethan Huff
A coalition of nearly 325 groups representing farmers, beekeepers, farmworkers, food safety advocates, and religious adherents has issued a formal letter to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) urging the government agency to immediately overturn three proposed mergers by six of the world’s largest and most influential chemical and industrial agricultural corporations. The letter states that allowing these six multinational corporations to essentially pair off and form three mega-conglomerates would be catastrophic for food sovereignty, effectively driving up farming costs and food prices.
If permitted, the proposed changes would allow Dow Chemical to merge with DuPont, Monsanto to merge with Bayer AG, and Syngenta to merge with ChemChina — this representing one of the largest consolidations of power in any one industry that the world has ever seen. Big Ag behemoths like Monsanto and Dow Chemical already control a large percentage of the inputs used by farmers to grow food, which means if they are allowed to join forces, even more of the food supply will be sprayed with chemicals and become genetically engineered.
As the Trump Administration’s newly-appointed Attorney General, Jeff Sessions has the power to override these proposed mergers in favor of public interest. Doing so would prevent the further takeover of our nation’s food supply by greedy, power-hungry chemical giants that trick farmers into buying their products in order to trap them into a system of input enslavement where they must buy new seeds and chemicals every year in order to grow food.
“Farmers across the country know that these mergers will result in fewer options and higher prices for the inputs we rely on,” says Mike Weaver, president of the Organization for Competitive Markets. “Already, a third of what a farmer makes for a corn harvest goes to pay for the seed alone; in the end there is nothing left for the farm family. We’ve seen what happens when too few companies control too much of the market, and these mergers would only make a bad situation worse.”
There have been many concerns voiced as President Trump fills his cabinet with Big Ag folks like Mike Pompeo and Sonny Perdue — two prominent chemical industry sellouts — that the new administration will be a disaster for food sovereignty. Despite repetitive claims on the campaign trail that Americans are going to be coming first from now on, the president seems to be aligning himself with all the wrong people to make this happen.
If Dow Chemical is allowed to merge with DuPont as planned, the duo will control 17 percent of global pesticide sales and roughly 40 percent of U.S. corn seed and soybean markets. If Bayer AG and Monsanto merge forces, it would result in the world’s largest agribusiness, controlling 29 percent of the world’s seeds and 24 percent of pesticides. All in all, if all the companies combine as they hope to, the remaining three would control almost 70 percent of the world’s pesticide market, more than 61 percent of commercial seed sales, and a whopping 80 percent of the corn seed market in the U.S.
“Such a heavily consolidated seed and agricultural input industry makes it easier for cartel-like tacit collusion that raises prices for farmers and other buyers and ultimately consumers while stifling innovation that is propelled by healthy competition in the marketplace,” the letter warns. “Predictably, more concentration of power and less competition will lead to reduced responsiveness to documented farmer and consumer desire for ecologically sound technologies that are cost-effective and sustainable, meaning less choice in the marketplaces for seeds, inputs and foods.”
You can read the full letter here.
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