Seeds of Resistance
Cambridge 6-8 September
Fancy planting some unusual variety of beetroot seeds or opposing the power of global agribusiness?
Join us for this event to celebrate diversity and challenge uniformity
We are an alternative vision to the official World Seed Conference.
While institutions and corporations alike further their domination of the seed industry, plant breeding, farmers rights, and biodiversity generally,
We will be building links, sharing ideas, eating organic food, exchanging seeds, painting banners, creating a grassroots movement to ensure a localised food Revolution.
Monday 6th will be inspiration and information packed workshops and discussions, while Tuesday we'll prepare for an event on the Wednesday to take some creative action together.
If you're interested in coming BRING SEEDS, action ideas, information for stalls or an appropriate workshop.
For more info contact:
WEN 0171 247 3327
Seeds of Resistance 0181 374 9677 or 0966 464606
"Monsanto should not have to vouchsafe the safety of
Our interest is in selling as much of it as possible."
Phil Angell, Director of Corporate Communications, Monsanto
Women's Environmental Network
TestTube Harvest Campaign
87 Worship Street
London EC2A 2BE
t: +44 (0)171 247 3327
f: +44 (0)171 247 4740
the Seeds of Resistance is set up as a positive alternative to the following industry conference:
1999 World Seed Conference:
6 - 8 September 1999, Cambridge UK.
This meeting is co-organised by ISTA, FIS/ASSINSEL, OECD and UPOV.
For Conference Details & Registration Forms go to:
** World Seed Conference: Shrinking Club of Industry Giants **
Gather for Wake or Pep Rally?
**RAFI Releases Newly Updated ÆSeed Industry Giants: Who Owns
An inauspicious gathering of the 1999 World Seed Conference takes place 6-8 September in Cambridge UK to mark the 75th anniversary of the international seed trade. RAFI takes this opportunity to release its 1999 update on seed industry consolidation. A shrinking number of colossal companies - the Gene Giants - dominate global sales of seeds, agrochemicals and pharmaceuticals. "Given the dramatic rate of consolidation in the global seed trade, membership is evaporating and all of the seed industry CEO's could probably meet for a weenie roast on someone's patio," remarks Pat Mooney, Executive Director of RAFI, who is among the featured speakers at next week's World Seed Conference.
According to RAFI, the top five Gene Giants (AstaZeneca, DuPont, Monsanto, Novartis, Aventis) account for nearly two-thirds of the global pesticide market (60%), almost one-quarter (23%) of the commercial seed market, and virtually 100% of the transgenic (genetically modified) seed market. "The Gene Giants' portfolio extends far beyond plant breeding," explains Mooney, "From plants, to animals, to human genetic material they are fast becoming monopoly monarchs over all the life kingdoms," said Mooney. Five years ago, none of top 5 Gene Giants appeared on the list of leading seed corporations. In fact, 3 of the top 5 companies didn't even exist
(Zeneca + Astra merged to form AstraZeneca; Rhone Poulenc +
Hoechst became Aventis; Ciba Geigy + Sandoz became Novartis. DuPont swallowed Pioneer Hi-Bred earlier this year.
A few short years ago, many would have predicted that the 1999 World Seed Conference would be a gala event to reap the profits and promise of genetically modified (GM) seeds. After all, sales of transgenic seeds grew twenty-fold from 1995-1998; analysts predicted industry revenues would surpass $3 billion in 2000 and explode to $25 billion in 2010. But
much has changed in the past year. The Cambridge gathering is rapidly taking on the trappings of a wake, and the group might forego their patio picnic to hunker down in a bunker instead. The civil society organizations who plan to protest in Cambridge under the banner "Seeds of Resistance," will reinforce the message that GMOs are under siege
Seed Industry Top 10 Company Seed Sales (US) Millions - 1998
DuPont (USA) $1,835+
Monsanto (USA) $1,800 (estimate)
Groupe Limagrain (France) $733
Savia S.A. de C.V. (Mexico) $428
AstraZeneca (UK and Neth.) $412
KWS AG (Germany) $370
AgriBiotech, Inc. (USA) $370
Sakata (Japan) $349*
Takii (Japan) $300* (estimate)
Top 10 Agrochemical Companies Company Pesticide Sales (US) Millions 1998
Aventis (Germany) $4,676
Novartis (Switzerland) $4,152
Monsanto (USA) $4.032
DuPont (USA) $3,156
AstraZeneca (UK and Neth.) $2,897
Bayer (Germany) $2,273
American Home Products $2,194
Dow (USA) $2,132
BASF (Germany) $1,945
Makhteshim-Agan (Israel) $801
Source: RAFI and Agrow No. 335 August 27 1999. *Note: 1998 sales figures were not available for some seed companies
Consolidation: Vital Statistics
The top 10 seed companies control approximately 33% of the $23 billion seed trade worldwide.
The top 3 seed companies (DuPont, Monsanto, Novartis) account for 20% of the global seed trade.
The top 10 agrochemical companies control 91% of the $31 billion agrochemical market.
The top five Gene Giants (AstraZeneca, DuPont, Monsanto, Novartis and Aventis) account for nearly two-thirds of the global pesticide market (60%), almost one-quarter (23%) of the global seed market, and virtually 100% of the transgenic seed market.
In the words of US Secretary of Agriculture Dan Glickman, opposition to genetically engineered foods and seeds, once confined to Europe, has spread like "an infectious disease." The list of food processors, retailers, farmers, consumers and governments who give a thumbs down to GMOs is mushrooming. Earlier this year, the world's largest food processors, Unilever and Nestle, said they would reject GM ingredients in their European products. Europe's largest grocery store chains followed suit. Last week, Japanese brewers, Kirin and Sapporo, announced they would begin using only non-genetically engineered maize to brew their beer. The Japanese government now requires companies to label genetically
In the dog house: Mexico's biggest tortilla maker, Grupo Maseca, says it will stop importing genetically modified grain. After Greenpeace disclosed that commercial baby food contains GMOs, US-based Gerber (Novartis) and H.J. Heinz vowed to reject genetically engineered corn and soya.
Adding insult to injury, US pet food company Iams recently announced that GMO maize isn't acceptable for dog food!
In Brazil, the world's second largest exporter of soybeans, a federal judge barred the planting of GM soybeans until environmental impact assessments are prepared. The Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul has declared itself a GM-free state.
Farmers Defecting : Peasants and farmers worldwide, from France to India to Brazil have successfully protested the introduction of GM seeds. Now, even US farmers may be defecting from a genetically modified future. A Deutsche Bank study entitled "GMOs Are Dead" sent tremors through the international investment community with its prediction in May,
1999 that price premiums for GMO seeds could collapse. In a desperate attempt to rescue a sinking ship, Deutsche Bank reports that Monsanto began offering free RoundUp herbicide to farmers who use the company's new RoundUp Ready (herbicide tolerant) maize seed.
In growing numbers, American farmers resent being guinea pigs for GMO crops that nobody wants to buy or eat. An uncharacteristically bold press release issued by the American Corn Growers Association last week said that "GMOs have become the albatross around the neck of farmers" and urged its members to plant non-GM seed. The Corn Growers struck at the guts of the issue when it asked, "How does the monopolistic practice of a handful of companies controlling the entire GMO process effect the future of U.S. food production?" http://www.acga.org
Reaping what you sow: "It's too soon to declare that GMOs are dead," cautions RAFI's Hope Shand. The fight for food is just beginning. The Gene Giants may soon become bargain buys for bigger fish - the food processors or insurance companies. "When Terminator technology was unveiled 18 months ago, we were all shocked by the extravagance of corporate greed and the specter of self-destructing, suicide seeds. Now, GMO markets are self-destructing. Maybe the Gene Giants are reaping what they sow," said Shand.
RAFI's newly updated chart, Seed Industry Consolidation: Who Owns Whom? will be available on RAFI's web site, http:www.rafi.org
For more information, contact: Hope Shand, RAFI, tel: 919 960-5223, email@example.com
Pat Mooney, RAFI, tel: 204 453-5259, firstname.lastname@example.org
RAFI, the Rural Advancement Foundation International, is an international civil society organization headquartered in Canada. RAFI is dedicated to the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity, and to the socially responsible development of technologies useful to rural societies. RAFI is concerned about the loss of agricultural biodiversity, and the impact
of intellectual property on farmers and food security.
Rural Advancement Foundation International (RAFI)
*** NOTE: New address, phone and fax:
Tel/Fax: 919 960-5223
118 E. Main Street, Rm. 211
Carrboro, NC 27510 USA