WB01343_.gif (599 bytes)  Pesticide and Environmental Update

Seed Industry Giants: Who Owns Whom?


  A shrinking number of colossal companies -- nicknamed the "Gene
Giants" -- dominate global sales of seeds and agrochemicals, according
to a new report released by the Rural Advancement Foundation
International (RAFI).

The top five Gene Giants (AstaZeneca, DuPont, Monsanto, Novartis,
Aventis) account for nearly two-thirds of the global pesticide market
(60%), almost one-quarter (23%) of the commercial seed market, and
virtually 100% of the transgenic (genetically engineered) seed market.
"The Gene Giants' portfolio extends far beyond plant breeding,"
explains Pat Mooney, Executive Director of RAFI. "From plants, to
animals, to human genetic material, they are fast becoming monopoly
monarchs over all the life kingdoms."

Five years ago, none of top five Gene Giants appeared on the list of
leading seed corporations. In fact, three of the top five companies didn't
even exist. Zeneca and Astra merged to form AstraZeneca; Rhone
Poulenc and Hoechst became Aventis; Ciba Geigy and Sandoz became
Novartis; and DuPont swallowed Pioneer Hi-Bred earlier this year.

Seed Industry Top 10
Company                 1998 Seed Sales (US) Millions
=======                 =============================
DuPont (USA)              $1,835+
Monsanto (USA)              $1,800 (estimate)
Novartis(Switzerland)         $1,000
Groupe Limagrain (France)     $733
Savia S.A. de C.V. (Mexico)     $428
AstraZeneca (UK and Neth.)     $412
KWS AG (Germany)              $370
AgriBiotech, Inc. (USA)     $370
Sakata (Japan)              $349*
Takii (Japan)              $300* (estimate)

Top 10 Agrochemical Companies
Company                 1998 Pesticide Sales (U.S.) Millions
=======                 ====================================
Aventis (Germany)         $4,676
Novartis (Switzerland)         $4,152
Monsanto (USA)              $4,032
DuPont (USA)              $3,156
AstraZeneca (UK and Neth.)     $2,897
Bayer (Germany)              $2,273
American Home Products         $2,194
Dow (USA)                  $2,132
BASF (Germany)              $1,945
Makhteshim-Agan (Israel)     $801

*Note: 1998 sales figures were not available for some seed companies

Consolidation: Vital Statistics

% The top 10 seed companies control approximately 33% of the US$23
billion seed trade worldwide.

% The top three seed companies (DuPont, Monsanto, Novartis) account
for 20% of the global seed trade.

% The top 10 agrochemical companies control 91% of the $31 billion
agrochemical market.

% The top five Gene Giants (AstraZeneca, DuPont, Monsanto, Novartis
and Aventis) account for nearly two-thirds of the global pesticide
market (60%), almost one-quarter (23%) of the global seed market, and
virtually 100% of the transgenic seed market.

RAFI, the Rural Advancement Foundation International, is an
international civil society organization headquartered in Canada. RAFI
is dedicated to the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity, and
to the socially responsible development of technologies useful to rural
societies. RAFI is concerned about the loss of agricultural biodiversity,
and the impact of intellectual property on farmers and food security.

RAFI's newly updated chart, Seed Industry Consolidation: Who Owns
Whom? will be available on RAFI's Web site,

Source: Rural Advancement Foundation International (RAFI) News
Release, September 3, 1999.

Contact: RAFI (Rural Advancement Foundation Int'l.) 110 Osborne St.,
Suite 202, Winnipeg MB R3L 1Y5, Canada; phone (204) 453-5259;
fax (204) 925-8034; email rafi@rafi.org; Web site http://www.rafi.org.