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Much ado over India’s Monsanto allianceqrcode

Aug. 3, 2017

Favorites Print Aug. 3, 2017
St. Louis-based agrichemical giant Monsanto has recently weathered a crush of negative international press and harsh public scrutiny – especially in India.

Some observers hope a looming $66 billion takeover by the German company Bayer will help soothe Monsanto's battered reputation. Financial analysts like Jason Miner, senior global chemicals analyst for Bloomberg Intelligence, say biotech companies like the impending chemical-agricultural behemoth are essential to India’s future. But others, most notably environmental activists, reject this idea.

Monsanto representatives declined comment on the pending merger and public criticism of the company. But they pointed to a 2016 sustainability report showing positive results for Monsanto’s agricultural outreach programs in India, most notably Sustainable Harvest Agriculture Resource Environment, or SHARE, which the report says educated and increased productivity among nearly 71,000 small farmers.

Other initiatives deal with sanitation, clean water and encouraging education for farmers’ children. And the company works to reduce child labor through a committee that keeps watch on business partners to ensure no child under 14 works in the fields and awards school funding to any “model village” that has 50 farms and no childlaborers.

Still, critics abound in both India and in America.
Public in India, home to Monsanto’s sole daughter company outside of the U.S., is increasingly aware of concerns surrounding glyphosate and fears the merger with Bayer will simply increase the company’s pricing power.

But financial analysts say India is a growing economy where companies like Monsanto should invest, not divest. “It’s a vibrant market for agricultural inputs for farming,” they said, adding that the future holds even “more growth opportunity.”

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