Groups oppose Bayer acquisition of Monsanto
A coalition of farming, consumer, and environmental groups delivered more than 97,325 public comments to the Justice Department today, urging the agency to reject Bayer’s acquisition of Monsanto, despite Bayer’s plans to divest itself of some businesses.
The comment period ends today on the Justice Department’s judgment to require Bayer to divest a substantial collection of assets relating to seeds and traits, crop protection, and digital agriculture.
On Friday, a jury in California found that Monsanto’s Roundup gave a groundskeeper cancer and awarded him $289 million. (See following story.)
The groups, including Friends of the Earth, Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), Farm Aid, Family Farm Defenders, Consumer Federation of America and ActionAid USA, said that regardless of the divestitures the Justice Department is requiring of Bayer, the acquisition of Monsanto could significantly reduce farmer seed choice, decrease quality and diversity of seeds, and increase prices.
“The Justice Department is missing an important opportunity here to stand up for competition in an increasingly uncompetitive market,” said Mark Cooper, senior fellow, Consumer Federation of America.
“Bayer and Monsanto have used their control over chokepoints in the supply chain to stifle competition. By binding traits, seeds, and chemicals, these companies are able to misuse intellectual property to the detriment of competition and consumers. The proposed merger would fuel even more abuse.”