Corporate power in the food system has increased by leaps and bounds in the past twenty years. Six agrochemical corporations, Syngenta, Bayer, BASF, Dupont, Monsanto, and Dow, control 75 percent of the global pesticides market. Of these, three companies, Monsanto, Dupont, Syngenta control 47 percent of the worldwide proprietary seed market. Just Monsanto’s genetically engineered seeds accounted for 87% of the total world area under genetically engineered crops in 2007.
The BIG 6 agrochemical companies control the seed, pesticide, and biotechnology markets worldwide. They are using their power to expand monoculture crop production that employs their proprietary seed and synthetic pesticides.
The impact of global corporate expansion into the food system on agricultural biodiversity and farmers’ livelihoods has been devastating. In many countries, a few genetically engineered crops dominate the agricultural landscape, in detriment of local genetic varieties that are fast disappearing.
The BIG 6 are making it much more difficult for small farmers to stay on the land and make a living. Hundreds of thousands of farmers have abandoned the land unable to cope with debt brought by the failed promises of new technologies pushed by the agrochemical companies. In India, over 200,000 farmers have committed suicide to escape burdening debts and poverty.
The Big 6 agrochemical companies have seriously undermined the Right to Livelihood of farmers, particularly of women farmers by trumping with their ancestral tradition to cultivate and improve seeds for the sustenance of their families and local communities.