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Notícias Internacionais / 24/04/2021


Four corporations monopolize 50% of the global seed stock

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Four corporations monopolize 50% of the global seed stock

Billion-dollar seed patents make it impossible to diversify and adapt climatic crops around the world

A survey by the German broadcaster Deutsche Welle points out that, in practice, only four corporations monopolize more than 50% of the world's food stock - Bayer, Corteva, ChemChina and Limagrain. Billionaire patent owners for seed modifications, companies criminalize farmers who use diverse crops.

Thanks to the rules, producers around the world find themselves locked into contracts that make it impossible for seeds to adapt to climate change - and threaten the food security of millions around the world.

Four corporations monopolize more than 50% of the global food stock

Until the 1990s, the exchange and commercialization of seeds was free. The introduction of laws to protect new crops of bioengineering, however, favored the construction of the so-called “seed monopolies”. "This control is, in many ways, control over the food supply," said University of Wisconsin-Madison professor Jack Kloppenburg.

In addition to reducing the possibility of seed exchange and distribution, the grains themselves are becoming less diversified. According to the FAO (United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization), 75% of the world's crop variants disappeared between 1900 and 2000.

In practice, the huge range of crops adapted to different climates and local vegetation is being replaced by standardized variants. Major producers of modified seeds, such as Bayer and Corteva, impose agreements that prohibit farmers saving seeds to exchange or sow them the following year.

Protection of Vegetable Varieties

While most countries only allow patents on genetically modified seeds, other plant varieties are strictly controlled by the Plant Variety Protection. The rule stipulates other types of intellectual property legislation.

The WTO (World Trade Organization) requires that all member states have some form of legislation that protects plant varieties. This regime imposes limits on the production, sale and exchange of seeds.

For large corporations, this regime "stimulates innovation" by allowing creators to have a temporary monopoly to profit new variants without having to face competition. To meet the requirements, however, the seeds must be “genetically distinct, uniform and stable” - a rarity among unmodified species.

Without meeting the criteria, farmers lack intellectual property rights over the varieties they cultivate themselves, which makes seed marketing laws prohibiting the sale or sharing in several countries. Thus, the only legal option is to buy seeds agribusiness corporations.

Four corporations monopolize more than 50% of the global food stock

International pressure

Although countries are not required to join the system, nations such as the USA, Canada, Switzerland, Japan and the European Union use bilateral agreements to pressure countries like Zimbabwe and India to join the compromise.

With the rules, countries with more organic, sustainable and smaller scale agriculture end up comparing themselves with the USA and Europe - countries with industrial agriculture.

In addition to standardized seeds, large corporations also promote fertilizers and pesticides to guarantee yields. These factors undermine the chance of survival of other species and the nutrient composition of the soil.

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