As huge corporations patent and genetically alter seeds across the globe, independent seed companies are sowing a different future for our food system.
In the past few decades, the world has seen a radical consolidation of seed ownership. The top 10 multinational seed companies now control 73 percent of the world’s seed market—up from 37 percent in 1995. Possible mergers among the largest companies, such as Bayer and Monsanto, could further consolidate the control of the world’s seeds into just a few corporations’ hands. These mega-corporations sell both genetically engineered (GE) seeds and the harmful pesticides that the GE crops are modified to withstand.
At the same time that large corporations are gobbling up the seed market, the number of small, independent seed companies in the U.S. is rapidly declining. In 1996, there were 300 independent seed companies; by 2009, there were only around 100.
For years, the most popular herbicide on the market has been Monsanto’s Roundup, which is used on crops genetically engineered to resist its primary ingredient, glyphosate. In 2012, U.S. growers sprayed 280 million pounds of glyphosate, which increased the prevalence of glyphosate-resistant weeds, dubbed “superweeds.” Rather than reduce herbicide use, the chemical company Dow decided to combat glyphosate resistance by introducing Enlist Duo, a toxic combination of glyphosate and 2,4-D, to be used on corn and soy genetically engineered to resist both.
Earthjustice is representing a coalition of conservation groups in challenging the EPA’s approval of Enlist Duo, urging the agency to take the chemical cocktail off the market immediately. Meanwhile, Monsanto is seeking EPA approval for its competitor to Enlist Duo, a mixture of glyphosate and the herbicide dicamba, to be marketed as the “Xtend” crop system.
Read the full story @ EarthJustice.org (Spanish version available.)
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