If you wonder whether your voice matters in advocating for the stewardship of seed and farmers’ roles therein, take heart of recent developments in South Africa. “Citing unfair control in South Africa by the two dominant U.S. seed companies,” South African advocates were successful in convincing regulators to deny the acquisition of their nation’s largest seed company by the U.S.’s second largest seed company, Dupont’s Pioneer Hi-Bred.
Concerns include expanding foreign control of South Africa’s seed supply and the erosion of traditional seed availability; harm to export businesses selling to nations opposing GE technology; and the cost to farmers in the form of expensive seeds that are patented and owned by U.S. firms. The South African Competition Commission confirmed it was rejecting the acquisition because of market concentration concerns.
But that’s not all. Advocates concerned about the consequences of existing concentrated seed ownership are asking the commission to investigate seed holdings and licensing agreements, especially in corn, to protect against “negative socioeconomic impacts.” It’s estimated that 75% of the hybrid corn planted in South Africa includes Monsanto’s GE traits.