Alarm Over Monsanto-Backed Push To Acquire African Seed Company 08/10/2014 by Intellectual Property Watch 1 Comment IP-Watch is a non-profit independent news service, and subscribing to our service helps support our goals of bringing more transparency to global IP and innovation policies. To access all of our content, please subscribe now. You also have the opportunity to offer additional support to your subscription, or to donate. An African civil society group has voiced concerns about the takeover by giant multinational seed companies of home-grown African seed companies, the latest of which involves Africa’s SeedCo. The Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa (AFSA) said in a 7 October press release that several multinational seed companies acquired a large part of SeedCo, SeedCo, which describes its vision as “To dominate agro-industry in Africa,” has agreed to sell 49 percent of its share in Africa’s only cottonseed company, Quton, to Mahyco of India, according to AFSA. Monsanto owns some 26 percent of Mahyco, which has a 50-50 joint venture to sub-licence Monsanto’s genetically modified “bt cotton traits” in India, they said. Separately, the French seed giant Groupe Limagain has invested up to US$60 million for a 28 percent stake in SeedCo, they added. These actions follow similar efforts by other companies, such as Syngenta in Zambia, they said. “Taken together, this means that three of the world’s largest biotechnology companies, Monsanto, DuPont and Syngenta, all now have a significant foothold on the continent in markets for two of the three major global GM crop varieties: maize and cotton,” AFSA said. “The creation of a predominantly privately owned seed industry in Africa is a vital component of the Green Revolution push, which equates agrarian transformation in Africa with the adoption of commercial (corporate) certified seed and other expensive inputs such as fertilizer,” the release said. “AFSA believes that solutions to Africa’s agricultural challenges can be found in the collaboration between its small-scale farmers and public researchers, with the former taking the lead in setting the research agendas and objectives,” AFSA said. “The encroachment of the international seed industry, which focuses almost exclusively on genetically uniform varieties, subject to UPOV 1991 [International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants] style intellectual property protection, takes us further away from this agricultural vision and closer to neo-colonialism of Africa’s food systems,” they said. "Alarm Over Monsanto-Backed Push To Acquire African Seed Company" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.