December 10, 2010

Genetically Modified Seed Leaders DuPont, Pioneer, Monsanto See South Africa Backlash!!! DON'T LET THEM INTO YOUR LAND!

Reuters news
written by Carey Gillam
Friday December 10, 2010

(Reuters) - The derailment of DuPont's intended acquisition of a top South African seed company -- a deal that would have doubled DuPont's African seed business -- is emboldening activists opposed to creeping CONTROL by both DuPont and rival Monsanto of the lucrative emerging market.

Citing unfair control in South Africa by the two dominant U.S. seed companies, South African activists successfully convinced regulators this week to deny the bid by DuPont's agricultural unit, Pioneer Hi-Bred, to buy South Africa's largest seed company, Pannar Seed Ltd.

Now, opponents say they are planning to push for a regulatory investigation of the dominant position global seed leader Monsanto holds in the genetically modified seed sector in South Africa.

They argue allowing foreign corporate control of South Africa's seed supply would erode availability of traditional conventional seed varieties, hurt export business with countries opposed to biotech crops, and force farmers deep into debt to pay for expensive seeds that are the patented properties of the U.S. corporations.

"This is only the beginning of the battle over the control of seeds in (South Africa)," said Mariam Mayet, environmental attorney and director of the Africa Center for Biosafety (ACB).

Mayet said the group was preparing a study of Monsanto's seed holdings and all the licensing and cross-licensing agreements in South Africa, particularly those dealing with corn or maize. The group will make a formal application to the South African Competition Commission to investigate and take action to protect against "negative socioeconomic impacts," Mayet said.

The South African Competition Commission confirmed Wednesday it was rejecting Pioneer's proposed acquisition of Pannar Seed due to concerns about market concentration.

The deal would have doubled Pioneer's seed sales on the continent to $200 million, and would have given it access to a broad base of local germplasm.

Company officials had touted the deal as the company's largest ever, and said the 52-year-old South Africa-based seed germplasm company -- which specializes in maize and sorghum and operates seed businesses in nine African countries -- would help it broaden its infrastructure across the continent.

Pioneer's bid for a controlling stake in Pannar marked the latest in a series of moves by major agricultural companies to stake a claim in Africa as concerns mount about global food security and population growth.

Pioneer and Monsanto already saturate the United States with their specialized high-yielding corn and soybean crops. And both see Africa as a key part of their international expansion efforts, affording substantial profit opportunities.

Both companies argue their specialized seeds will make farmers more productive, improve local livelihoods and help lift up a continent stricken by poverty. [<== Don't buy into this DECEPTION! They want to CONTROL our food supply! All of their GM seeds are patented! They want to eliminate NATURAL SEEDS agricultural farming. (emphasis mine)]

"You look at the continent of Africa that has basically been flatlined in agricultural productivity for the last number of decades," said Pioneer President Paul Schickler. "If you can triple the productivity of Africa overall, that has a great impact."

Both Monsanto and Pioneer have the bulk of their African business in South Africa, a country that is increasingly embracing biotech crops, and both are working to open up neighboring nations that balk at biotech.

The hybrid corn, or maize, market in South Africa is worth an estimated $250 million. Pioneer claims about a one-third market share and Schickler describes the business as "very successful."

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