SANTA FE, N.M. – Some New Mexico groups are joining the call for more scrutiny of mega-mergers now in the works between multinational agribusiness companies that dominate the global market for seeds and pesticides.
More than 300 groups have signed a letter to new U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, asking him to review pending mergers between Dow Chemical and DuPont, Monsanto and Bayer, and Syngenta and ChemChina.
Patty Lovera, the assistant director of the nonprofit Food and Water Watch, says these mergers would concentrate too much power in too few hands.
“Six companies really control, largely, the whole seed supply,” she said. “This deal would take it down to four, and they can charge more for the seeds and the chemicals that they use to grow them. And that could ripple through the whole food supply.”
The groups predict that if these deals close, the three mega-companies would control 80 percent of the American corn-seed market, three-fifths of commercial seed sales and 70 percent of the world’s pesticide market.
Lovera says the food system needs farmers across the world to grow many different varieties of crops in order to thrive.
“In terms of having a system that could bounce back from a disruption,” she added. “You know, whether that’s a changing climate or some new pest, we need more diversity in that system, not less.”
Lovera notes that President Donald Trump met with top executives of Monsanto just before the election. The letter, which was also signed by the group Environment New Mexico, presses Attorney General Sessions to keep politics out of the merger review process.