Over the last decades the same chemical companies which manufactured explosives and lethal poisonous gases for the war, turned to the agricultural market, where they saw enormous potential to keep multiplying their profits.
Through patents and intellectual property rights (IPRs), and free trade agreements, they have established monopolies, threatening farmers’ rights to seed, people’s rights to affordable medicine and people’s rights to healthy, nutritious food.
The “Big 6” chemical and GMO corporations that own the world’s seed, pesticides and biotechnology industries are now enlarging their empire with mega buyouts. Syngenta has merged with ChemChina ($43 billion deal). Dow Chemical, which bought up Union Carbide responsible for the Bhopal disaster killing over 20,000 people, has merged with Dupont ($122/130 billion deal) while Bayer has merged with Monsanto (over $63 billion deal).
In this scenario, just 3 companies are left in control of 60% of the world’s seeds and 70% of the chemicals and pesticides.
Through these aggressive mergers and acquisitions they are expanding their markets, and, by directly targeting decision-makers, increasing their influence and pressure on governments and institutions. Through wide public relations and propaganda they are undermining science – to ensure that health and environmental regulations do not interfere with their profit making activities, thus increasingly leading to the erosion of our democratic principles. By expanding their monopolies on seed and food, chemicals and medicines, they deepen their control over our food and health, with the burden of this system falling most heavily on the smallest farms and the poorest consumers.
After the successful mobilization for the Monsanto Tribunal and People’s Assembly in The Hague in October 2016, co-organised by Navdanya International, along with multiple CSOs from all over the world, in The Hague, the global mobilization continued throughout 2017, and Navdanya International organised and co-organised multiple actions with movements across the world.
For the second year running since it began, a series of actions was co-organised in Germany. It kicked off in Düsseldorf with the “March Against Monsanto, Bayer & BASF” on May 19 and was followed, in Bonn, on May 24, by a press conference and a panel debate, organised by IFOAM – Organics International in cooperation with the Coalition Against BAYER-Dangers and Navdanya International which included the participation of Dr. Vandana Shiva and Harald Ebner (Bündnis 90 / The Greens), member of the Bundestag – among others. Farmers movements, environmental groups, trade unions and students organizations converged on May 25 at a protest in front of WCCB in Bonn, where the annual Bayer’s shareholders’ meeting was held. CSO’s representatives were also able to speak at the meeting inside the building.
In November 2018, a panel debate took place in Berlin: Visions for Agriculture 2050, with Vandana Shiva, and Norbert Lemken, head of the agriculture politics department of Bayer AG. The heated discussion centered mainly on the opposing views of the speakers. Norbert Lemken defined the discussion as “challenging”. Dr Vandana Shiva stated: “Biodiversity is the web of like, weeds are food and pests are insects, if left in the right balance. The Poison Cartel which began with the experiment of exterminating some humans in Hitler’s concentration camps has brought entire species to extinction. But there is much that we can do as individuals and communities. The defense of life in its vitality and diversity begins with saving one seed, planting one garden”.