U.S. group calls on the Justice Department to oppose Monsanto takeover of Delta & Pine Land
Février 22, 2007
A new report from the Center for Food Saftety unconditionally opposes the merger of Monsanto and Delta & Pine Land, noting that it would increase chances for the introduction of the internationally-condemned sterile seed technology known as “Terminator.” (www.centerforfoodsafety.org)
The Center for Food Safety called on the Justice Department to “unconditionally oppose” the “ill-conceived” merger of Monsanto and the Delta and Pine Land Company (DPL), citing increased seed prices and reduced seed choices for America’s cotton farmers. The report also discusses how the takeover of DPL would worsen agricultural and environmental problems associated with Monsanto’s genetically engineered cotton, threaten the booming market for organic cotton, and increase chances for introduction of the internationally-condemned sterile seed technology known as “Terminator.”
Highlights of the report include:
• Increasing Seed Prices and Fewer Choices – Cotton seed prices have risen 240% from 1995 to 2005, due primarily to fees charged for genetically engineered traits. Monsanto’s pledge to “increase technology penetration” in DPL’s cotton varieties will further accelerate the steep rise in prices and reduce the number of conventional varieties offered for sale.
• Environmental Effects – The dramatically increased use of Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide – which is used in association with “Roundup Ready” cotton and other crops – has fostered rapid development and proliferation of herbicide-resistant superweeds, which one expert quoted in the report calls a threat to the industry that compares with the plague of the boll weevil. The report also cites recent scientific research linking heavy use of glyphosate to plant disease, crop mineral deficiencies, reduced yields and amphibian mortality.
• Increased Concentration in the Cotton Seed Industry – Just three firms sell 92% of cotton seed to U.S. farmers. The merger would likely accelerate the exit of smaller cotton seed firms from the market.
• Threats to Organic Cotton - The booming market in organic cotton, already at risk from transgenic contamination from genetically engineered varieties and damage from the drift of sprayed herbicides, is further threatened by the likely increase in these practices as a result of the takeover.