Tuesday, May 22, 2012

You’ve Heard of the Dirty Dozen. Now Meet the Dirty Half Dozen, the “Big Six.” (Part 1)

You know there’s a huge problem when the major player of the “Big Six” seed companies, Monsanto, has an executive quoted in Farm Journal as saying, “What you’re seeing is not just a consolidation of seed companies; it’s really a consolidation of the entire food chain.”

I’ve known for some time that Monsanto and the rest of the major Big Six seed companies have a stranglehold on global agriculture. In fact, the last 40 years have changed the course of agriculture—and not for the better. In that time, the seed industry has gone from a competitive agri-business involving primarily small, family-owned farms to an industry dominated by only a few pharmaceutical/chemical corporations, namely Monsanto, DuPont, Syngenta, Bayer, Dow and BASF—the Big Six.

Even more dramatic changes have occurred since the commercialization of transgenic, or genetically modified (GM), seeds from the mid-1990s on. The truth is that the Big Six are increasingly taking over market share to eliminate competition and do as they choose.

Economists say that when four firms control 40 percent of a market, then that market is no longer competitive. The top four seed firms now control at least 56 percent of the global proprietary seed market and continue to take over more territory.

Here’s how the Big Six took control.

(Read part 2 of this article.)