Reacting to the official notification by Bayer to the European Commission of their planned acquisition of Monsanto, Adrian Bebb, food and farming campaigner at Friends of the Earth Europe said:
“This merger would be a marriage made in hell. Bayer and Monsanto already wield enormous power over our food and farming system, and their joining forces would be bad news for citizens, farmers and the environment.
“All eyes are now on EU competition chief Margrethe Vestager, who after dishing out a record antitrust fine to Google this week has shown she is not afraid of taking on big corporations to protect the interests of citizens. She must block now this merger to prevent these mega-corporations from taking over an ever-larger portion of our countryside and food system.
Instead of more planet-wrecking industrial farming, we need a major shift towards a greener and fairer food system that is available to everyone, protects nature and gives farmers a decent livelihood.”
More than 200 organisations representing farmers, farm workers, beekeepers, development and environment groups have written to the European Commission calling for the mergers to be blocked. The civil society organisations call on the EU and national governments to:
- 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
The notification comes on the eve of a European Commission decision on the future of GM crops in the EU. Three strains of GM maize – including Monsanto’s MON810 – are up for approval or re-approval.