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Sustainability activists fear agrochemical, seed company monopolies will damage food security

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

In the global agriculture sector, there have long been seven international manufacturers of pesticides and seeds, the report says. But that’s changing.

Once German chemicals company Bayer completes its planned takeover of seed company Monsanto, that will make it the world’s biggest agrochemical producer.

Meanwhile, US giants DuPont and Dow Chemicals are also planning a merger, and ChemChina wants to buy Swiss agrochemical and seed company Syngenta.

“Soon, we won’t be dealing with an oligopoly, but three huge monopolies,” Barbara Unmüßig of the Heinrich-Böll foundation told DW.

Fewer varieties of crops can also threaten food security. Normally, if one variety is wiped out by disease, others may survive. But farmers around the world are increasingly planting the same industrially produced seeds.

“In order to insure food security, you need high agro-diversity so that climate change, floods and other weather impacts don’t have such a strong effect on the farming system,”Kathrin Wenz, agriculture policy expert at Friends of the Earth Germany, said.

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Despite food industry claims of fighting world hunger by increasing production, the current trend in farming practices tends to actually promote depletion of agricultural land in the long term.

“We are destroying the fertility of the soil with the overuse of chemical fertilizers and monocultures,” explains Unmüßig. “We lose 24 billion tons of fertile soil every year, which could be used to build up food security.”

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion, and analysis. Read full, original post: Who controls our food?

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