Corporate consolidation of the seed sector
FCRN member Sylvie Bonny of the INRA (National Institute for Agricultural Research), France, has written a paper on corporate consolidation and technological change in the global seed industry. The paper examines the views that different types of stakeholders have about current trends towards concentration, including concerns about the consequences on seed prices and diversity.
In the past three decades, the seed sector has experienced, and is now again experiencing, corporate concentration trends. The fallout of this consolidation is the subject of numerous concerns. However, the seed sector is rather poorly understood. Thus, it is useful to understand it better and to investigate the potential impact on the agri-food chain of the trend toward increased corporate concentration. The first part of this paper presents the main characteristics of the global seed sector, its stakeholders, and its size in the agri-food chain. Next, the corporate consolidation trends of the seed industry over the past two years are examined. The technological evolution of the seed sector is also briefly presented. In the last part of this paper, the fallout of recent mergers and acquisitions in the seed industry are analyzed. Opposing views are expressed on the impact of these mergers and acquisitions in the agri-food chain: while certain stakeholders worry about the risk of food power by the biggest companies, some others expect useful innovations.
Bonny, S., 2017. Corporate Concentration and Technological Change in the Global Seed Industry. Sustainability, 9(9), p.1632.
Read the full paper here. See also the Foodsource chapter Food systems and contributions to other environmental problems.
While some of the food system challenges facing humanity are local, in an interconnected world, adopting a global perspective is essential. Many environmental issues, such as climate change, need supranational commitments and action to be addressed effectively. Due to ever increasing global trade flows, prices of commodities are connected through space; a drought in Romania may thus increase the price of wheat in Zimbabwe.
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