The Monsanto-Bayer merger came to light with a ton of controversy, but now, it appears to have slipped the radar screen as the two companies quietly merge into a monstrous entity that could control more than a quarter of the world’s pesticides and seeds market.
The two companies were able to receive anti-trust approval in the United States despite petitions and objections toward their allegedly monopolistic practices, infuriating many activists who had fought for more regulations or a halt to the merger.
But meanwhile in Mexico, the historic pesticide and GMO alliance has just been dealt a monumental blow, as the country’s anti-trust agency has just ordered Monsanto and Bayer to disinvest in two of their biggest GMO business interests.
Monsanto, Bayer Dealt Huge Blow in Mexico
According to this article from the website Reuters, Monsanto and Bayer have been ordered to disinvest in their GMO cotton seed business and all of their vegetable seed businesses.
The news comes on heels of the companies’ $60 billion-plus merger, which is still being finalized as Monsanto comes to terms with the ending of its company’s identity and the beginning of a new era under the Bayer umbrella.
The article said that the new conditions would prevent Bayer from becoming Mexico’s only provider of GMO cotton seeds and obtaining a large share of vegetable seeds including for popular crops like onion and tomatoes, according to the Federal Commission for Economic Competition, or Cofece.
“Without the conditions imposed, the partnership would significantly reduce the alternatives for Mexican farmers in a wide range of seeds,” Cofece said in a statement.
Mexico Has a Long History of Battling Monsanto
While GMO foods are still allowed in Mexico, the country has seen widespread protests against Monsanto’s flagship products, especially genetically engineered corn, and judges have done their best to protect local maize varieties from the contamination of GMO corn.
In the United States, GMO corn makes up over 90 percent of the crop each year, and corn and soy (and other crops) from GMOs finds its way into packaged and processed foods in a large majority of all grocery store products.
Protesters have long been worried that GMO corn from Monsanto will cross-pollinate its treasured varieties of natural and non-GMO maize in the country, of which there are many.
Monsanto, Bayer and similar companies also are well known for cornering the market on the seeds business and squeezing out competition, which limits choices in the long run to only the seeds that are the most widely produced and the most profitable.
As more and more farmers become invested in Monsanto and Bayer and vice versa, seed saving becomes limited and the chemical giants gain more control. Many countries still have a huge problem in this area, but it looks as if Mexico is starting to get the message and doing its part to break up these monopolistic practices before they become too serious.
In the case of cotton, onion and tomato seeds, it appears as though a massive change has been initiated by the Mexican government.
And this time around it’s a huge win for seed sovereignty, even though we still have miles and miles to go in order to create a food system that is fair and just for all, while limiting the reach and influence of chemical giants like Bayer and Monsanto who are just as well known for their actions in wartime as they are for actually feeding the people.
Photo via Yucatan Expat Life.