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Mark Lynas: Monsanto’s Syngenta takeover proposal a ‘big mistake’

| May 21, 2015
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This article or excerpt is included in the GLP’s daily curated selection of ideologically diverse news, opinion and analysis of biotechnology innovation.

Just what exactly is Monsanto playing at? Apparently not satisfied with its continuing role as the favourite pantomime villain for every anti-GMO activist in the world, the St Louis-based company everyone loves to hate seems to be doing everything possible to make its predicament worse.

Monsanto doesn’t ask my advice. But I give it anyways – for two years at least I’ve been urging the company to ditch the glyphosate division and focus entirely on seeds.

I see biotech as a disruptive technology in agriculture, potentially challenging the age of chemistry – meaning chemical inputs such as pesticides and fertilisers – and ushering in an age of biology, where the technology is in seed genetics rather than in added inputs from outside. In principle this should be more sustainable, more targeted and help address public concerns about industrial agriculture.

Because Monsanto is still a maker of Roundup-brand glyphosate, the old idea that all GM crops are a Monsanto plot to sell more weedkiller refuses to die. I often think that herbicide tolerance is the ‘original sin’ of GM crops – people simply can’t get over it, or understand that there are many different traits nowadays. For the antis, all roads lead back to Roundup.

Related article:  City uses vinegar instead of glyphosate for weed control, odor proves problematic

So what does Monsanto do? Instead of hiving off Roundup and becoming a non-pesticides seed company, it does the precise opposite. In seeking to take over Syngenta, it looks to double down in agro-chemicals, including many more forms of pesticide and insecticide in Syngenta’s current portfolio, most of them far more toxic than glyphosate.

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion and analysis. Read full, original post: Monsanto makes the wrong choice – again

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