By Gustavo Duch
If the competition courts do not throw it back, next year we will see the premiere of a new supermultinational, MonBayer, or whatever they decide to call the merger, between Bayer and Monsanto after the former has bought the latter. Well, what can this mean?
A first answer is situated in the usual logic of what a powerful and indestructible company can represent. We find those who value it as a natural step in the future of our economic model, affirming that with companies like this, with their "infinite technology", with their "ability to go anywhere", with their "efficiency", everything will be unbeatable . MonBayer, with its magic seeds and infallible pesticides, will be the god that will end hunger in the world and a dream will be closer and closer: order food via Google from our apple, which is served a few seconds later by an Amazon drone and be happy eating partridges MonBayer.
We also find those who, like many of my colleagues, explain that the emergence of this corporation can have quite tragic results. After the merger between Dow AgroSciencies and Dupont, and the merger between Syngenta and the parastatal ChemChina last February, the operation between Monsanto and Bayer leaves the agricultural sector - the one that feeds us - in the hands of only three empires, all They, by the way, have been linked since their birth not with food or health, but with the chemical sector (which well knew how to find synergies with the war industry).
Specifically, in the seed business, between the three of them they control 60% of conventional seeds and almost 100% of transgenic ones, and they ensure more than 65% of all pesticide production. As the researcher Silvia Ribeiro from ETC says, “we have to be concerned about the strength of these industrial giants to shape in their favor agricultural trade agreements, rural subsidies and programs, labor laws, seeds and patents, land use regulations, use of agrochemicals and even public spending on infrastructure, all in favor of their businesses. It is the total loss of the ability to decide about our agriculture and food. Only bees and other pollinating insects may be more concerned than those of us who defend this right.
But is there any loophole that allows us to suppose that adding two monsters to one makes the new Frankestéin something as huge as it is fragile, clumsy and weak? Or, can it happen that these three dinosaurs, in their particular game of thrones, fight to the death and the end result is their total extinction?
We well know that the metabolism of these companies works based on continuous growth, among other things because the return of the credits with which they work forces them to do so. So far, a good part of the growth has been achieved by ingesting other companies, but that food is running out and the 7,000 small seed companies that existed just 30 years ago have already been eaten. Cannibalism left?
In the same way, they are running out of the ease of having at a cheap price the key ingredient in all links of the industrial agriculture business: oil. But also the product for which they are betting heavily, transgenics, is finding ceilings that endanger the payment that the debt of the new company will have to manage, about 60,000 million euros. Glyphosate, the star herbicide that is part of the technological package of transgenic crops, is no longer effective and there are already 24 'weeds' that resist it.
The GMO Bet
Nor has it done any good for its sales that it has been declared by the WHO as a probable carcinogen. Many of these crops, for example corn in the US or Aragon, are giving lower yields than expected. And of course civil society continues to distance itself with these products, in fact most European countries do not authorize them. Are you playing everything to the card that the TTIP allows new transgenic crops in Europe or the entry of these from the US?
In any case, as we are talking about the most essential, food for all, the land that allows it, health, respecting the territory and the culture that welcomes us, we require a collective and creative effort not to wait. that the dinosaurs are ruined in their successes and it is with mobilizations, boycotts and the commitment to peasant agriculture, close and small, with which we achieve that it occupies the space that corresponds to it. Generate livelihoods that feed and care for the world.
Biodiversity in Latin America and the Caribbean