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Corporate concentration and technological change in the global seed industryqrcode

Sep. 25, 2017

Favorites Print Sep. 25, 2017
Corporate consolidation of the seed sector in recent decades and in 2015-2017 is a matter of concern to many. Many stakeholders are concerned about its consequences on the prices and diversity of seeds, as well as on the food power acquired by the largest seed companies. However, the seed sector is often poorly understood. Therefore, it is useful to understand it better and to explore the possible impacts of this increased concentration on the agri-food chain.

A paper in open access has just been published in the scientific peer-reviewed journal Sustainability. It gives an overview of the global seed sector and its great diversity by providing many figures and data. It also presents the technological evolution of the sector and its related issues. Then it examines the views of the different types of stakeholders on the current concentration trends. Opposed views regarding such trends are linked to the controversy over the direction that agriculture must take in order to face the many challenges of the 21st century, some advocating high-tech agriculture, others favoring more peasant and agro-ecological directions.


Bonny S. 2017.
Corporate concentration and technological change in the global seed industry.
Sustainability, 9(9), 1632. doi:10.3390/su9091632
Article in open access:
Direct link to the paper in PDF:


In the past three decades, the seed sector has experienced, and is now again experiencing, corporate concentration trends. The fallout of this consolidation is the subject of numerous concerns. However, the seed sector is rather poorly understood. Thus, it is useful to understand it better and to investigate the potential impact on the agri-food chain of the trend toward increased corporate concentration. The first part of this paper presents the main characteristics of the global seed sector, its stakeholders, and its size in the agri-food chain. Next, the corporate consolidation trends of the seed industry over the past two years are examined. The technological evolution of the seed sector is also briefly presented. In the last part of this paper, the fallout of recent mergers and acquisitions in the seed industry are analyzed. Opposing views are expressed on the impact of these mergers and acquisitions in the agri-food chain: while certain stakeholders worry about the risk of food power by the biggest companies, some others expect useful innovations.

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