May 31, 2018.Ottawa – Canada’s Competition Bureau has approved a merger between seed and pesticide companies Bayer and Monsanto, creating the largest seed and pesticide company in the world.
“This is an unprecedented level of corporate control over seeds and pesticides,” said Lucy Sharratt of the Canadian Biotechnology Action Network.
Four companies will now control around two thirds of the global seed market and more than 70 percent of global pesticides.
“Seeds are the heart of our food system. If you control seeds, you control farmers and you control food,” said Martin Settle of USC Canada. “Increased corporate control over seeds has dire consequences for seed diversity and our ability to adapt to climate change.”
Bayer was the world’s second largest pesticide company and Monsanto was already the largest seed company in the world, with a dominant position over genetically modified (GM or genetically engineered) traits. Both companies were selling seeds, GM seeds, and pesticides.
“Farmers should be the ones making the crucial decisions about how to produce for the food system, including seed and farm input choices. This is an essential aspect of food sovereignty,” said Jan Slomp, National Farmers Union Vice President (Policy). “More and more, we are getting stuck with what a handful of multinational corporations want to supply, regardless of what we need or want. This Bayer-Monsanto merger increases their power at the expense of farmers’ and consumers’ interests.”
The Canadian Biotechnology Action Network argued that this merger could further increase the price of seed, decrease choice in the marketplace for Canadian farmers, and stifle research and development.(1)
“We’ve given too much control over Canada’s food supply to large corporations,” said Heather Lee of No More GMOs Toronto, “This merger could mean fewer choices and higher prices in the grocery store. We’re moving in the wrong direction. We want farmers to have more control over the food they grow for us,” said Heather Lee of No More GMOs Toronto, “We have to take back food and farming from these giant companies.”
For more information:
Lucy Sharratt, Canadian Biotechnology Action Network, 613 809 1103
Martin Settle, USC Canada, 613 323 3524
Jan Slomp, National Farmers Union, 403 704 4364
Heather Lee, No More GMOs Toronto, 416-795-1981
(1) CBAN submitted comments to the Competition Bureau in 2016: https://cban.ca/gmos/issues/corporate-control/comments-submitted-to-the-competition-bureau/
The Canadian Biotechnology Action Network (CBAN) brings together 16 groups to research, monitor and raise awareness about issues relating to genetic engineering in food and farming. CBAN members include farmer associations, environmental and social justice organizations, and regional coalitions of grassroots groups. CBAN is a project on the shared platform of Tides Canada.
The National Farmers Union is a direct-membership voluntary organization made up of Canadian farm families who share common goals. NFU members believe that the problems facing farmers are common problems, and that farmers producing diverse products must work together to advance effective solutions. The NFU works toward the development of economic and social policies that will maintain the family farm as the primary food-producing unit in Canada.
No More GMOs is a Toronto-based grassroots action and education group campaigning against the use of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) in our food supply. We are part of the broad food sovereignty movement for systemic change and a just transition away from corporate control over food and related sectors, including energy. We are also a founding member of the Toronto Non GMO Coalition.
USC Canada promotes vibrant family farms, strong rural communities, and healthy ecosystems around the world. We work with 30,000 farmers in 12 countries, including Canada. Together, we harness the power of seed diversity and ecological agriculture to create a fair and equitable world sustained by just and resilient food systems.