Monsanto Acquires Delta & Pine Land and Terminator
Juin 1, 2007
On June 1, 2007 the United States Justice Department gave the green light for Monsanto's $1.5 billion takeover of the world's largest cotton seed company, Delta & Pine Land (D&PL) -- the US company that developed and patented the world’s first Terminator seed technology.
Monsanto now acquires Delta & Pine Land’s greenhouse tests of Terminator seeds and rights to its Canadian patent on Terminator granted on October 11 2005. D&PL has long vowed to commercialize Terminator, targeting rice, wheat and soy in particular.
Monsanto’s deal comes just one day after Bill C-448, a Private Members Bill that, if passed into law, would ban Terminator in Canada, was tabled by Alex Atamanenko, Agriculture Critic for the New Democratic Party and MP for B.C. Southern Interior.
Monsanto tried to buy D&PL in 1998 but the deal fell through. In 1998 the first Terminator patent (D&PL’s) was discovered and by 1999 the international uproar over Terminator forced Monsanto to pledge not to commercialize the technology. In 2006 Monsanto was caught backtracking on that pledge.
1998: Monsanto made its first bid to buy Delta & Pine Land but the deal collapsed amid global controversy over Delta & Pine Land’s Terminator patent.
1999: Monsanto’s former CEO stated, "we are making a public commitment not to commercialize sterile seed technologies, such as the one dubbed ‘Terminator.’" The pledge was made in a letter to Rockefeller Foundation President Gordon Conway after pressure from the Foundation and public uproar.
2005: Monsanto reworded its 1999 pledge: "Monsanto made a commitment not to commercialize sterile-seed technologies in food crops. It continues to stand by that commitment today, but Monsanto people constantly reevaluate this stance as technology develops."(emphasis added) Monsanto apologized for this "added language" and restated in a letter to the Ban Terminator Campaign (Feb 27, 2006) that, "We stand by our commitment to not use genetic engineering methods that result in sterile seeds. Period." The company indicated that it would change the wording on its website. However, the wording in the 2005 pledge is still posted, without amendments.
2006: In August Monsanto announced its bid to buy Delta & Pine Land – the deal was completed June 1st 2007.
o Although Monsanto repeatedly insists that it does not hold patents on Terminator, Monsanto was granted a Terminator patent published under the Patent Cooperation Treaty, WO97/44465 “Method for Controlling Seed Germinator Using Soybean ACYL COA Oxidase Sequences.” The 91-page patent, published in November 1997, details the company’s research on genetic seed sterilization and offers evidence of the company’s intention to apply for patents in patent offices worldwide.
o On October 11, 2005 The Canadian Patent Office granted a patent to Delta & Pine Land and the US Department of Agriculture for the Terminator technology they developed together.
o Monsanto is the world's largest seed company and accounts for more than one-fifth of the global proprietary seed market.
o Monsanto made US $4,028 million from seed sales in 2006.
o Based on 2006 revenues, the top 10 seed corporations account for 55% of the commercial seed market worldwide.
o The top 3 companies - Monsanto, Dupont and Syngenta - account for $8,552 million - or 44% of the total proprietary seed market.
(Source: ETC Group, April 30, 2007www.etcgroup.org)
Delta & Pine Land
o D&PL is a cotton seed and soybean seed company - the largest cotton seed company in the world.
o Delta & Pine Land has previously conducted greenhouse tests of Terminator in the US. We do not know the current status of the