What will be the impact of the Bayer-Monsanto merger?
The German chemical giant Bayer has purchased the US seed producer Monsanto for 59 billion euros, making it the world's largest agrochemical company. Journalists fear that its dominant market position will have negative repercussions for global food production.
Our food is going to the dogs
Global food production will head in the wrong direction with the merger, L'Obs complains:
“The good fortune of shareholders sounds in this case like the misfortune of everyone else: farmers, consumers and our planet as a whole (meaning all of humanity)! ... Excessive water consumption, harmful or even carcinogenic pesticides (like Monsanto's glyphosate), cruelty to animals, bland food, the dramatic impact on the climate of food products that travel once around the world before they land on your plate. ... The horrific effects of agribusiness have long been known, but they have not been remedied! And the new market leaders will do more than ever to prevent anyone from questioning their ways.”
Agricultural companies taking over the world
The Bayer-Monsanto deal, the third merger of two agrobusiness giants within the last few months, will have dire consequences for farmers, Wiener Zeitung fears:
“Farmers right across the globe will have to buy seeds from these three conglomerates that are produced in such a way that only the pesticides made by the same company can fight pest infestation. Most farmers won't be able to propagate their own seeds because there are patents on basic foods - which of course belong to this three-piece agro-industrial complex. … Such oligopolies tend to secure their market share in the long term. This often means that the innovation that pushes companies to create something entirely new falls by the wayside. Moreover they can manipulate prices at will. Such market concentration in a fundamental sector like the production of food and animal feed cannot be in the general interest.”
Don't demonise genetic engineering
Bayer's takeover of the much criticised Monsanto company should launch a debate on genetic engineering in which the advantages offered by technology are not simply swept under the table, Les Echos advises:
“Certainly, the excessive recourse to intensive agriculture has caused considerable damage, and we must also put thought into developing alternative agricultural models. But why, in the name of an almost mystical mentality, should we refuse to analyse at least the potential merits of seeds that require less water or pesticides? Some people would like to force us into a permanent state of anxiety that is at least as harmful as the excessive consumption of herbicides. Bayer's purchase of Monsanto should prompt a considered debate, not a public execution without any kind of trial.”