Quantcast

'Merger From Hell' Reportedly Approved by DOJ, Pushing Agrichemical Chokehold on Food System

Food
Bayer Crop Science Innovation Center. NCSUPlantPathology / Flickr

By Andrea Germanos

Watchdog groups sounded alarms on Monday after the Wall Street Journal reported that the proposed mega-merger of Bayer and Monsanto has cleared its final regulatory hurdle in the U.S.

The reported approval from the Justice Department came "after the companies pledged to sell off additional assets," the Journal reported, and despite concerns raised by hundreds of food and farm groups. It also comes weeks after the European Commission gave its thumbs up.


"The approval of the third supersized seed merger, after ChemChina-Syngenta and Dow-DuPont," said Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food & Water Watch, "leaves farmers vulnerable to price gouging for seeds and other supplies and strengthens the hold a few dominant corporations have over the entire food system."

"The Justice Department's rubber stamping of these three seed mega-mergers transforms the already concentrated agrichemical and seed market, effectively reducing the number of competitors from six to three," she added.

Because it will make it harder for farmers to acquire non-genetically modified seeds to plant, it "makes it harder for agriculture to get off the GMO-chemical treadmill that just keeps increasing in speed," she said.

With its reported stamp of approval, the pending merger shows that "the federal government is not taking the impact of corporate control of our food supply seriously. It's time for Congress to establish a moratorium on mega-mergers in the food system," Hauter argued.

Jason Davidson, food and technology campaign associate with Friends of the Earth, was equally critical in his reaction to the development.

"The Department of Justice has decided that corporate profits matter more than the interests of consumers and farmers. This decision will massively increase the power of major agrichemical companies that already have a stranglehold on our food system," he declared in a statement.

He went on to lament that "American farmers will see increased seed prices, fewer options, and decreased bargaining power." Echoing Hauter's warning, he argued. "This merger from hell will further entrench the failing model of toxic, chemical intensive agriculture, which is poisoning people and the planet."

A recent poll found that nearly 94 percent of farmers expressed concern that a Bayer-Monsanto merger would have a negative impact on independent farmers and their communities. It also found that 89 percent of farmers said they believe the merger would lead to increased pressure for chemically-dependent farming.

Shares of Monsanto, meanwhile, jumped 6.6 percent following the Journal's reporting on the $66 billion takeover by Bayer.

Reposted with permission from our media associate Common Dreams.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Protesters march during a "Friday for future" youth demonstration in a street of Davos on Jan. 24 on the sideline of the World Economic Forum annual meeting. FABRICE COFFRINI / AFP / Getty Images

By Andrea Germanos

Youth climate activists marched through the streets of Davos, Switzerland Friday as the World Economic Forum wrapped up in a Fridays for Future demonstration underscoring their demand that the global elite act swiftly to tackle the climate emergency.

Read More
chuchart duangdaw / Moment / Getty Images

By Tim Radford

The year is less than four weeks old, but scientists already know that carbon dioxide emissions will continue to head upwards — as they have every year since measurements began leading to a continuation of the Earth's rising heat.

Read More
Sponsored
Lucy Lambriex / DigitalVision / Getty Images

By Katey Davidson

Each year, an estimated 600 million people worldwide experience a foodborne illness.

While there are many causes, a major and preventable one is cross-contamination.

Read More
picture alliance / dpa / F. Rumpenhorst

By Arthur Sullivan

When was the last time you traveled by plane? Various researchers say as little as between 5 and 10 percent of the global population fly in a given year.

Read More
A Starbucks barista prepares a drink at a Starbucks Coffee Shop location in New York. Ramin Talaie / Corbis via Getty Images

By Cathy Cassata

Are you getting your fill of Starbucks' new Almondmilk Honey Flat White, Oatmilk Honey Latte, and Coconutmilk Latte, but wondering just how healthy they are?

Read More