The technology of genetic engineering – the application of patented gene sequences and the accompanying laws, policies and regulations – facilitates corporate control over seed. Monsanto is largest biotech and seed company in the world.
There is a new corporate profile of Monsanto that has been released by the US group Food and Water Watch: http://foodandwaterwatch.org/reports/monsanto-a-corporate-profile/
• is the largest seed company in the world (accounted for 23% of the world’s commercial seed market in 2007).
• Owns the seed planted on approximately 85% of the GE crop acres in the world (in 13 countries).
• Sells the top selling global herbicide Roundup (glyphosate).
• Owns the patent and research on Terminator technology (Monsanto bought Delta & Pine Land in 2006 which developed Terminator seeds, genetically engineered to be sterile after first harvest to stop farmers from saving and reusing seed.) There is an international moratorium on the field testing and commercial growing of Terminator technology.
• Monsanto accounts for over 57% of the US cotton seed market.
There is a great deal of corporate concentration in the seed market:
The six major companies developing and selling GE crops are: Monsanto, Dupont, Syngenta, Dow, Bayer, BASF
• Collectively, they control 59.8% of seeds and 76.1% of agrochemicals globally.
• They also account for 76% of total private research and development in seed and agrochemical sectors. At least 70% of this R&D is devoted to biotechnology and GE crops.
• These six companies accounted for 98% of all biotech acres in 2007. Monsanto’s GE traits were in 85% of the total acreage planted with GE crops (in 13 countries).
• Since the first GE seeds were introduced in 1996, the market share of the world’s three largest seed companies – Monsanto, Dupont, Syngenta – has more than doubled, from 22% to 53.4% of commercial seed sales.
• These six companies regularly cross license to each other, reinforcing their market power. About half of all commercial GE seeds with stacked traits are the result of cross licensing between companies.
The above information comes from the March 2013 ETC Group report “Gene Giants Seek “Philanthrogopoly”: http://www.etcgroup.org/content/gene-giants-seek-philanthrogopoly
Further background information on Monsanto: http://www.cban.ca/Resources/Topics/Monsanto