If the deal goes through, German-based Bayer would emerge as the dominant industry leader. The company would exert more influence over the future of food than any national government, or all international institutions combined.
But, an opinion piece in the Washington Examiner this week by Kevin Mooney calls attention to the close ties between Syngenta and its new owner ChemChina, a PR firm that has often worked on behalf of Syngenta, and a newly formed NGO with the sole mission of raising opposition in the farm community to the Bayer-Monsanto deal.
DDC Public Affairs in Washington, D.C. is conducting the public outreach for the non-profit advocacy group Farmers and Families First. Their mission is advocating for free and competitive markets to assure a steady flow of innovative technologies for American farmers.
“But,” Mooney writes, “the group’s single, solitary mission” appears to be blocking final approval of Bayer’s acquisition of Monsanto merger.
As the Department of Justice weighs whether to approve the Bayer-Monsanto merger, the DDC media campaign has ramped up. “Save the Heartland” television ads recently started running on Fox News, urging President Trump to stop the merger.
A very glossy new report has been released, and widely-circulated emails forecast higher grocery prices and other dire consequences if the deal is approved.
DDC, it turns out, has a long history of work with Syngenta, the ag pesticide-seed giant that was, in turn, purchased by state-owned ChemChina in 2017.
Mooney goes on to speculate that if ChemChina-Syngenta is really behind the Farmers and Family First efforts, then they may be required to file as a foreign agency, a topic much in the public eye lately given the ongoing investigations of Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. election.
Some of the tactics being used to build opposition to the deal might come back to haunt Syngenta- as we discuss in this recent blog.
This episode is but one small scene in a global drama unfolding over which companies will control the seed market, GE traits, and pesticide sales, both in the U.S. and worldwide. One thing is certain — the industry is becoming highly concentrated with more market share — and power — vested in fewer companies. The only people who should worry about these developments are those that look forward to three square meals a day.
Kevin Mooney, “Is China behind this campaign against the Mosanto merger?,” Washington Examiner, February 19, 2018.