The second mega-merger in two weeks of giant agriculture corporations has been given the green light today, sparking warnings about the future of food and farming.
The European Commission gave the go-ahead for the Chinese state chemical company ChemChina to buy Swiss seed and pesticide producer Syngenta, known for its genetically modified crops and bee-killing pesticides. This seriously compromises Europe’s ability to put food and farming on an environmentally-friendly footing, and to sustainably feed future generations, according to Friends of the Earth Europe.
Adrian Bebb, food campaigner for Friends of the Earth Europe said: “Allowing a small number of giant corporations to take over the world’s food supply will be bad for farmers, consumers and the environment and devastate our countryside with their chemical-based farming. If the European Commission is genuine about supporting greener farming, it must block the proposed ‘marriage made in hell’ between corporate goliaths Bayer and Monsanto.”
Last week the European Commissioner for Competition Margarthe Vestager approved a merger between Dow Chemicals and DuPont paving the way for them to form the world’s biggest agribusiness company. German chemical producer Bayer is expected to lodge its acquisition of Monsanto – the world’s biggest seed manufacturer – in the coming weeks. If approved this would create the world’s largest chemical and seed business a “marriage made in hell” according to campaigners.
More than 200 organisations representing farmers, farm workers, beekeeper, development and environment groups wrote to the European Commission calling for the mergers to be blocked and for more power over agriculture to be given to farmers, producers and people.
Friends of the Earth Europe, together with many organisations, are calling for the EU and national governments to:
- Reject the proposed Bayer-Monsanto merger;
- Address existing concentration in the food and farming sector, setting clear limits on the market share a corporation can control;
- Shift support and subsidies away from agri-business towards rewarding and incentivising small-scale and sustainable agroecological farming;
- Increase environmental and social safeguards to ensure agri-business reduces its impact on citizens, farmers, workers, and the environment.