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The World's Top 10 Pesticide Firms - Who Owns Nature?

NOTE: Further extracts from ETC Group's recently released report, "Who Owns Nature?" These are from the section about the pesticde industry. For the full report:

According to the report, the world's six largest agrochemical manufacturers, who control nearly 75% of the global pesticide market, are also seed industry giants.

It's worth breaking this down by company.

Bayer: the world's biggest agrochemical company is also the world's seventh biggest seed company.

Syngenta: the world's second largest agrochemical company is also the world's third largest seed company.

Monsanto: the world's biggest seed company is the world's fifth largest agrochemical company.

And DuPont: the world's second biggest seed company is also the world's sixth largest agrochemical company.

All these companies are gene giants.

Weed killers (herbicides) account for about one-third of the global pesticide market, and around 80% of GM seeds involve herbicide-resistance.

The worldwide market for agrochemicals grew last year by nearly 10%.
Who Owns Nature?
Report from ETC Group

[Extracts only]

Agrochemical Industry

World's Top 10 Pesticide Firms

Company - Agrochemical Sales 2007 (US$ millions) - % Market Share

1.Bayer (Germany) - $7,458m - 19%
2.Syngenta (Switzerland) - $7,285m - 19%
3.BASF (Germany) - $4,297m - 11%
4.Dow AgroSciences (USA) - $3,779m - 10%
5.Monsanto (USA) - $3,599m - 9%
6.DuPont (USA) - $2,369m - 6%
7.Makhteshim Agan (Israel) - $1,895m - 5%
8.Nufarm (Australia) - $1,470m - 4%
9.Sumitomo Chemical (Japan) - $1,209m - 3%
10.Arysta Lifescience (Japan) - $1,035m - 3%
Total $34,396m - 89%
Source: Agrow World Crop Protection News, August 2008

The top 10 companies control 89% of the global agrochemical market.

The worldwide market for agrochemicals was US$38.6 billion in 2007 - up 8.4% over the previous year. The top 6 companies accounted for $28.8 billion, or 75% of the total market.

Symbiotic Sales: The world's six largest agrochemical manufacturers are also seed industry giants. Despite sky-rocketing fuel and fertilizer costs, high grain prices created soaring demand for commercial seeds and pesticides in 2007. After two decades of sagging sales, the world's largest pesticide companies rebounded last year - in large part due to the subsidy-driven boom in agrofuel crops.

In 2007 the four largest pesticide companies (Bayer, Syngenta, BASF, Dow) reported double-digit sales jumps.

Pesticide revenues are up in nearly all regions [particularly South America].

Mind the Gap: Weed killers account for about one-third of the global pesticide market, and agrochemical giants are ratcheting up R&D on new herbicides and herbicide-tolerant genes. Monsanto's glyphosate-resistant (Roundup Ready) crops have reigned supreme on the biotech scene for over a decade - creating a near-monopoly for the company's Roundup Ready herbicide - which is now off patent.

According to Chemical & Engineering News, BASF, Syngenta, Bayer, Dow and DuPont are competing to fill "the glyphosate gap" -
- a gap that's growing fast because at least 14 weed species on five continents have developed resistance due to massive applications of glyphosate. As a result, farmers must employ more toxic chemicals to kill the resistant weeds. Commonly known as the "pesticide treadmill," it's a classic case of chasing a new techno-fix to mop up the mess of an older, failed technology. Agrochemical giants prefer to describe the resistance problem as a business opportunity: In the words of Syngenta's Crop Science CEO, John Atkin: "Resistance is actually quite healthy for our market, because we have to innovate."