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The global seeds market has been forecast to hit a value of US$75 billion by the year 2018, driven primarily by the increasing demand for food in tandem with the growing global population, rising standards in global farming, and extensive use of biotechnology in seed development.
In the first half of the 20th century, seeds were overwhelmingly in the hands of farmers and public-sector plant breeders. In the decades since then, Gene Giants have used intellectual property laws to commodify the world seed supply - a strategy that aims to control plant germplasm and maximise profits by eliminating Farmers' Rights.
Today, the proprietary seed market accounts for a staggering share of the world's commercial seed supply. In less than three decades, a handful of multinational corporations have engineered a fast and furious corporate enclosure of the first link in the food chain.
Intensive research and development efforts conducted by these seed companies have brought about evolved strains of seeds that display improved resistance to diseases and pests, and which are able to deliver enhanced yields and superior produce.
The takeover of the seed market has been dramatic and is getting harder for farmers to find alternatives. In the US for example, where 90% of the soybeans grown are genetically-modified varieties, many conventional farmers have had difficulty obtaining non-genetically modified seeds to plant.
Since the mid-1990s just five biotech giants - Monsanto, Syngenta, Bayer, Dow and DuPont - have bought up more than 200 other companies between them to dominate our access to seeds.
The top 10 seed companies account for $14,785 million - or two-thirds (67%) of the global seed market. The world's largest seed company, Monsanto, accounts for almost one-quarter (23%) of the global seed market. The top three companies (Monsanto, DuPont, Syngenta) together account for $10,282 million, or 47% of the worldwide seed market.
For more information on the global seed market, see the latest research: Global Seed Market
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