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Protest against Mega-Merger Bayer-Monsanto
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Before Bayer's Annual Stockholders' Meeting this Friday in Bonn development organisations are warning about the consequences of Bayer taking over the US corporation Monsanto. Especially for small farmers in developing countries there would be a negative impact: prices would rise, their choice of seeds and pesticides would be limited and their health damaged by the input of agrochemicals. They said small-scale agriculture must therefore at long last be recognised as a successful model for feeding the world and it had to receive stronger support. Today, small farmers produce 80% of all food worldwide.
If the mergers of Dow-DuPont and ChemChina-Syngenta and the planned takeover of the US corporation Monsanto by Bayer were to go ahead, three mega-corporations could in future control almost two-thirds of the world market for seed and agrochemicals. This means they would have a huge influence on the living and working conditions and the food of billions of people.
In the global south, small family farms mostly propagate their seed themselves, exchange it with others and in this way they develop seed without any outside intervention. The seed they produce is adapted to local conditions, affordable and maintains biodiversity.
Cornelia Füllkrug-Weitzel, President of the German development service Bread for the World: "If the merger goes ahead, the scope for non-commercial alternatives diminishes because the power of the market is overwhelming. In that case, only seed will be bred that is in the interest of a few corporations. And that means mainly plants will be bred that produce a high level of profit. Market concentration is likely to lead to the further loss of plant variety, the rising price of seed and even greater dependency of farmers on fertilisers and pesticides."
There is already a huge input of agrochemicals where seed marketed on an industrial scale is being used. "The massive input of fertilisers and pesticides has devastating consequences in the global south in particular. Partner organisations report how people's health is damaged by the intensive use of pesticides with no protection, and how soils and water sources have been contaminated," says the Director General of MISEREOR Pirmin Spiegel. He points out that it is precisely at this point that governments have often failed to issue regulations regarding the application of pesticides, and the manufacturers have failed to provided information about protective measures and the danger to health and the environment. "With the takeover of Monsanto the responsibility of the Bayer corporation will be all the greater to guarantee the protection of farming families and agricultural workers," Pirmin Spiegel maintained.
The planned amalgamation also has to be a wake-up call to drive forward the German and European transition in agriculture with greater determination to protect small farmers in Asia, Africa and Latin America. Arndt von Massenbach, Managing Director of INKOTA, emphasised the point: "Small-scale agriculture feeds more people than all food corporations put together. Political framework conditions have to be created with great urgency that acknowledge the the contribution made by small farmers to feeding the world and ensure they have access to land and natural resources. This is the reason why in German development cooperation we need to promote more intensively ecological methods of cultivation that enable farmers to raise productivity without being forced into new dependency."
Alongside the Bayer Annual Stockholders' Meeting in World Conference Center (WCCB) in Bonn were rallies, lectures and demonstrations by numerous organisations.
The dossier "Bayer & Monsanto - Bleibt uns vom Acker" by FIAN Deutschland, INKOTA, the Forum Umwelt und Entwicklung, Brot für die Welt and MISEREOR.