The Number One threat to Seed Biodiversity: Corporate Takeover of Commercial Seeds by Major Chemical/Biotechnology companies
The top 10 seed companies control 57% of the global seed market. Seed industry concentration has resulted from major pesticide manufacturers like Monsanto, DuPont, Bayer and Dow buying up half the world’s seed supply. This corporate takeover and consolidation of our seed supply has several negative impacts: 1) Use of genetic engineering to make pesticide-promoting GM crops, harming the environment; 2) Reduction/elimination of conventional seeds, giving farmers little choice but to buy GM seeds; 3) Astronomical prices for GM seeds and the pesticides used with them hurt farmers financially; 4) Monsanto’s patents on seeds permit prosecution of farmers for seed-saving; and 5) Monsanto “strong-arm” tactics with ever fewer remaining independent seed companies further reduce farmers’ seed choices and enforce the company’s stranglehold on seeds.
These corporations use several different methods of control over our seed supply. These methods include patenting; genetic engineering; technology use agreements; and terminator technology designed to make plants sterile so they are unable to reproduce, and so that farmers are unable to save the seed from these crops for future planting.
Halting the Corporate Takeover of Seeds
The Center for Food Safety has been taking actions toward halting this corporate takeover of our seed supply. These actions include, but are not limited to the following: 1) Using anti-trust actions to halt monopolistic takeover of seeds (see Corporate Control and Seed Monopolies); 2) Limiting use of gene banks in favor of in situ seed protection and local seed saving (see Genetic Engineering and Patents); and 3) Re-configuring gene bank agreements to protect against corporate exploitation of collections (see Seed Saving and Seed Banks).
Working in collaboration with other NGOs across the world, CFS is taking action to: pass national and international legislation declaring seeds to be non-patentable subject matter; ensure seed saving is a fundamental right of all farmers; promote local seed saving effort around the world; promote a vibrant public sector/government seed research program; declare a moratorium on any new genetically engineered crops; litigate to nullify Technology Use Contracts and coercive seed selling contracts as violations of public policy; and declare an International Ban on Terminator Technology.
CFS will be expanding its Save Our Seeds program in the coming months and adding new updates to this section of our website so check back soon!